Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Abducted Blackpool sisters in Fez

UK newspapers allege that sisters Carene, 12, and Shelby, 10, have been brought to Fez where they are being cared for by the family of their mother's Moroccan partner.

Grandmother Rita Astbury has custody of the girls in Blackpool, northern England. But recently their natural mother and Rita's daughter, Trudy Crofts, abducted them and flew them to Spain from where they were taken to Fez.

Rita Astbury with a photograph of her granddaughters, Carene and Shelby

Mother Trudy, meanwhile, is in jail in Spain facing allegations of child abduction. She lost custody of her children in 2002.

Shelby and Carene Crofts

British Foreign Office staff, along with Embassy and Consulate officials, have been working to get the children back to their grandmother in Blackpool, and British police were about to fly to Fez to collect them. But the Moroccan family looking after them have apparently refused to let the girls go on the instructions of their mother, and the future is uncertain at the moment. Ms Astbury's lawyers issued a court order to restrain Trudy and her daughters, but this was only valid in Europe; by that time, the girls were already in Morocco. Lawyers say that the Home Office is now being contacted.

Ms Astbury says she is worried about her granddaughters being so far from home and with a family they don't know. She's also worried about her daughter's fate.

photos: Blackpool Gazette

No comments: