Devious dad donned disguise to kidnap son on Christmas Eve after spending months on ‘sinister’ plan

A father disguised himself to kidnap his son on Christmas Eve in a “sinister and disturbing” plan to get him out of the country.

The “sneaky and cunning” father plotted for months to nab the six-year-old after developing a grudge with family courts and social services over his attempts to contact him.

A court heard the defendant, in his 30s, who used a tracker to follow his ex-partner, had an “ardent, ideological belief” that it was acceptable for parents to snatch their children unless they got their way . He even offered a “service” to another parent who was fighting in family court to have his child kidnapped.

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When he kidnapped his son from his ex’s car, the boy was traumatized and suffered a broken leg. He threw it in his own car and sped off, telling him they were going on vacation. Only quick police action caught them heading south with the father in possession of a one-way Eurotunnel ticket.

Now the father, whom we cannot identify due to reporting restrictions preventing the child from being identified, has been jailed at Newcastle Crown Court.

Recorder Tom Moran told him: “The evidence shows you are a sneaky and cunning person. Unsatisfied by family courts or social services, you spent several months contemplating a plan to snatch the child.

“It happened on Christmas Eve, no doubt selected for maximum impact. You say you love your son. On that special day, any feelings you had for him were completely eclipsed by your own selfish desires. It was all about you and what you thought was good for you, with reckless disregard for his feelings.

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“You had absolutely no regard for how he would feel if he were torn away from his mother on Christmas Eve of all days, the most exciting day for any child.

“This was something you had planned for months in a profoundly sinister and disturbing way. They had a deep-seated anger at the family courts and social services. They believed they had the right to take matters into their own hands.

“They received a way of contact and declined it. She (the child’s mother) did not seek to exclude you from his life but appealed to the family courts.”

The judge added: “They also got involved in other people’s disputes. It shows what drove you to do what you did, an avid ideological belief that it is acceptable for parents to snatch their children from the other parent when they don’t get their way with the family courts or social services .

“They somehow got a parent’s home address in a family case and showed up unsolicited to offer them a service and said, ‘We’re taking children illegally, look on our website, if it doesn’t work out in family court, we have You a team to follow the kid, get him back and take you out of the country.’”

The court heard the defendant had placed a tracking device on his ex-partner’s car, which monitored their movements over an extended period of time. Recorder Moran said: “You gave up your job to pursue this obsession.

“You have been seen changing your number plates in advance of mock runs. They also talked about going out in disguise in public. On Christmas Eve, you tracked her to a store with the tracking device. They blocked their car and put a brick behind their back wheel and they wore a disguise.

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“You went to the back of the car, opened the door and pulled (the child) out of the car, resulting in a spiral fracture in his leg. She (the mother) tried to stop you, but you pushed her away and crashed into a car with wrong number plates.

“It was just quick and very good police work that you were picked up on the A1 southbound. (The child) said among other things that you opened the door, pulled him out and then threw him in the car and he fell headfirst.

“I have no doubt you had no intention of returning it. You had a one-way ticket for the Eurotunnel. You didn’t have a pass for him, but you’re a sufficiently sneaky and cunning person. I don’t think you saw that not having his passport was an insurmountable problem.

“You told him you were vacationing near Turkey.

After being rescued, the boy ended up in hospital on Christmas Day with a broken leg. Recorder Moran said: “His Christmas was completely ruined and he lost his place on his football team.

“The psychological effects are the most serious aspect and are described as profound.

“He mentioned that he needs to get bigger, stronger and faster. He is very nervous when traveling in a car and he would also yell and yell when approaching the kidnapping scene. He said if you loved him you would have brought him back to his mother.”

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The boy’s mother is worried, overly alert and suffers from flashbacks.

Records of the kidnapper found on his cell phone showed he had followed his ex for months, buying a mask, a wig and fake license plates. He said his plan was going well, he knew all of their routes and he’d been making trips in his costume to see what response he’d get.

The judge said he showed no remorse, was unrepentant and didn’t think he did anything wrong.

He was found guilty by a jury of kidnapping the child and assaulting his ex together. He was acquitted by GBH with the boy, but the judge said the broken leg remained a relevant feature in the case. He was imprisoned for six years with an extended license term of another three years.

Liam O’Brien, defending himself, said: “It was not appropriate for him to take the law into his own hands but these offenses were motivated by his love for his son rather than simply hurting his former partner. There is a positive side to this. He has worked all his life and has shown that he has a constructive side.

“What will live him far longer than any sentence this court can impose is the damage he has caused to the relationship he might otherwise have had with his son. He has severely damaged any prospect he would otherwise have of reaching some sort of resolution and seeing his son and spending time with him to consider the milestones to come in the years to come.”

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