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Hornchurch dad denied unsupervised contact with daughter by courts

PUBLISHED: 09:00 08 November 2010

Adult and child holding hands

Adult and child holding hands

© Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

A DESPERATE Hornchurch father who has only seen his five-year-old daughter for two hours in more than two years has been told by the nation’s top family judge he only has himself to blame for the lack of contact.

The dad had to search for his wife and child - none of whom can be named - for seven months after the mother left him, before finally tracking them down to the south coast, a court heard.

And, since then, he has been battling through the courts to win direct contact with the youngster and has accused his wife of perjury and poisoning his daughter’s mind against him.

He has had only two hour-long contact visits with his daughter since the family split more than two years ago and has otherwise only been permitted postal and telephone communication with the girl.

Today, the father asked Sir Nicholas Wall, President of the Family Division, to intervene on his behalf and direct that he be given regular, direct and unsupervised contact with his little girl.

However, the judge told him he was “the author of his own misfortune” in refusing to accept a judge’s view that he must see his daughter only at a supervised contact centre.

Describing it as a “sad case” in which contact with both parents was clearly in the little girl’s best interests, the judge said the father had rigidly insisted on contact arrangements “only on his own terms”.

His accusations of perjury against the mother, and claims that she has “alienated” his daughter against him, were also doing nothing to help the little girl cope with the family breakdown, he added.

Refusing the father permission to appeal, Sir Nicholas said a County Court judge who ruled on the case earlier this year had said that it would not be in the girl’s best interests for her to have direct, unsupervised contact with her father, having not seen him for so long.

The judge had said she hoped that father and daughter seeing each other at a contact centre would eventually lead to unsupervised contact and even over-night stays.

The father said after today’s Appeal Court hearing: “What there should be is a presumption that each parent should have unsupervised contact with their child unless there are very good reasons.

“The only reason in my case is that my child hasn’t seen me for a while - that’s just ludicrous.

“I think the courts are very poor at recognising that parental alienation syndrome exists”.


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