Mum loses court bid for baby daughter

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A WIGAN mum whose baby girl was taken away by social services after abuse allegations were made against the father has lost her legal bid to be reunited with the girl.

Wigan Council stepped in earlier this year after an allegation by the baby’s older sister, who is in care, that her father had sexually abused her.

And, although the mother almost immediately separated from the alleged abuser, who has since left the country, she lost a county court bid to get her baby back in July.

Yesterday, the heartbreaking case reached London’s Court of Appeal, where one of the country’s senior family judges, Lord Justice Thorpe, upheld the decision, despite saying it had been a “Draconian” one by the council .

The mother’s barrister, Jane Crowley QC, argued that there had never been any suggestion that the mother was a danger to the child: the only risk was the father and he was now gone.

She said: “There has never been any allegation against the mother, either as a perpetrator or as collusive in respect of the allegations made against the father.

“The relationship between the parents has broken down irreparably. The mother is prioritising the needs of the children and is determined to remain separated from the father.

“These were all factors which were available to the court to consider when the mother decided to bring her application to challenge the decision to remove the child.”

The Manchester County Court judge should have paid more regard to the suggestion that, as part of an order returning the child, there could be a ban on the father living with the family, she told the Appeal Court.

Lawyers representing Wigan Council and the children’s legally-appointed guardians have vehemently contested the mother’s bids to get the baby back.

Karl Rowley, for the child’s guardian, said the decision to remove the child was a “necessary and proportionate response” to the risk of harm disclosed by the older girl’s allegation.

The girl had suggested that her father had interfered with her during contact periods and earlier when she was living at home, he said in written arguments.

“There is, therefore, evidence suggestive of a risk of emotional and physical harm, posed by the father by virtue of sexually abusive behaviour,” he said.

Dismissing the appeal, Lord Justice Thorpe, sitting today with Lady Justice Black, said the decision to remove the child was “Draconian”, but the court would not interfere with the county court ruling.

The mother was not in court for the appeal.