The Scottish Mail on Sunday

Dad’s plea over girl ab­ducted by mother

- Crime · Viral · Gossip · Incidents · Norway · Alesund

A BRI­TISH fa­ther’s young daugh­ter is be­ing held cap­tive in a church in Nor­way – ten months af­ter her mother ab­ducted her.

Maia Shep­herd cel­e­brated her sev­enth birthday last week in Sp­jelka­vik church, Ale­sund, where her mother is de­fy­ing a cus­tody or­der and a crim­i­nal charge of ‘il­le­gally with­hold­ing’ the girl from Do­minic Shep­herd.

Maia’s Nor­we­gian mother, Tonje Bjornsen, has claimed sanc­tu­ary at the church for four months. Po­lice have re­fused to in­ter­vene.

IT spe­cial­ist Mr Shep­herd, 40, said: ‘I was in tears that I couldn’t be with Maia on her spe­cial day. My twin sons, To­bias and Christian, who are ten, were in tears too. They miss their lit­tle sis­ter as much as I do.’ Mr Shep­herd met Miss Bjornsen 13 years ago in Ma­jorca. Af­ter mov­ing to Cheshire, Miss Bjornsen gave birth to the twins. Three years later, Maia was born.

In Au­gust last year, Miss Bjornsen said she had to go home as her mother was ill. She took the chil­dren with her but when she re­fused to re­turn, Mr Shep­herd won cus­tody of the chil­dren and flew to Nor­way.

He was told he could pick up them up from school, but his wife had al­ready fled with Maia.

Miss Bjornsen’s le­gal team has vowed to fight the case.

Mr Shep­herd said: ‘I won’t rest un­til Maia is re­united with her brothers and me.’

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