Mum faces three years in jail for ‘kid­nap­ping’ son

Night­mare for Ir­ish woman’s fam­ily as Bel­gian ex seeks ex­tra­di­tion

Irish Daily Mail - - News - By Sam Ferguson news@dai­ly­

AN Ir­ish mother ac­cused of kid­nap­ping her own son and flee­ing to Bri­tain, is fac­ing ex­tra­di­tion to Bel­gium to serve jail time.

Natasha Hayes, 35, who is orig­i­nally from Din­gle, Co. Kerry, moved from Bel­gium to the UK seven years ago with her son.

She now faces three years in prison as his Bel­gian fa­ther claims that she took the now 14-year-old boy out of the coun­try with­out per­mis­sion. The mother-of-three was sen­tenced by a Bel­gian court in her ab­sence.

Since mov­ing to Bri­tain, Ms Hayes, who now lives in Hull in the east of Eng­land, has mar­ried again and works as a cleaner and part­time pole danc­ing in­struc­tor.

She says this is the sec­ond time her ex has tried to get her ex­tra­dited back to Bel­gium.

She said: ‘The first I knew about the case was in 2012, two years af­ter we ar­rived in Hull.

‘Two po­lice­men came and knocked on my door. They ar­rested me and I spent the night in the cells.

‘Then they drove me down to West­min­ster Mag­is­trates Court where I had to an­swer the charges.

‘I just couldn’t be­lieve what was hap­pen­ing.’

Ms Hayes faced charges of ab­duc­tion and il­licit re­straint, and re­lied on le­gal aid to fight the trial at West­min­ster Mag­is­trate’s Court in Lon­don in May 2013.

She won un­der hu­man rights laws be­cause she suc­cess­fully ar­gued she had a right to a fam­ily life in Hull.

Her son has re­mained a ward of the courts since that first trial.

But on Septem­ber 13 this year, Ms Hayes was again wo­ken by a knock at the door and she was trans­ported back to Lon­don to face a new charge of kid­nap.

She was re­leased on bail pend­ing the full hear­ing which will take place in West­min­ster Mag­is­trates Court on Oc­to­ber 24.

As part of her bail con­di­tions she is on a cur­few be­tween mid­night and 4am.

She must also al­ways have her mo­bile phone on her per­son, fully charged 24 hours a day and has had to sur­ren­der her pass­port.

‘We re­ally thought it was all over and done with last time. I stayed in contact with my ex and we in­vited to pay for him to come and visit my son.

‘He seemed keen to forge a re­la­tion­ship but he never turned up.

‘I don’t know when they sen- tenced me in Bel­gium. That’s what my team of lawyers are try­ing to find out.

‘It’s such a strain know­ing that this is hang­ing over our heads. I can’t re­ally think about any­thing else th­ese days.’

Ms Hayes ex­plained she isn’t el­i­gi­ble for le­gal aid this time around and doesn’t know how she is go­ing to raise the money to cover the court costs, which she es­ti­mates to be around £5,000 (about €5,700).

She said she split up from her ex when her son was just six months old. Ms Hayes, who has two other chil­dren aged 12 and ten, lived in Bel­gium with her chil­dren for an­other seven years af­ter the split. She says her ex did not have a big role in her son’s life.

How­ever, she says their re­la­tion­ship was al­ways ex­tremely dif­fi­cult.

‘I lived in Os­tend where I ran a pub and it got to the point where I just wanted a bet­ter life for my fam­ily away from him.

‘When I left, my ex seemed to un­der­stand. We shook hands and I thought that was the end of it.

‘I just don’t un­der­stand what he can get out of it other than me go­ing to jail.’

Ms Hayes left Bel­gium in 2010 with her young fam­ily and met her hus­band of three years, Neil, 34.

‘The ef­fect it’s had on our lives has been huge,’ he said. ‘It’s brought a lot of stress on us. We know we’ve got to try and carry on with our lives and keep liv­ing as nor­mal but it’s a lot of stress.

‘We are wor­ried it will mean they take Natasha away from the kids.

‘It’s ab­so­lutely dev­as­tat­ing. We thought this was all done and dusted. It’s hard not know­ing what will hap­pen.’

The fam­ily have set up a Go­Fundme page to raise money for le­gal costs.

Spent night in the cells

Sen­tenced: Natasha Hayes with her chil­dren

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