Birmingham Mother Returns Daughter From US
8 June 2015, 19:22
A nine-year-old Birmingham girl who was unlawfully taken to the United States by her mother has returned to the UK, say lawyers.
Jessica Monkman, who is at the centre of family court proceedings, disappeared last year and was thought to have been living in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her mother Natalie Lewis.
A judge gave permission for details of her disappearance to be reported in December in the hope that publicity will encourage Ms Lewis, who is in her 30s, to return to the UK.
Her father Nathan Lawrence, who is also in his 30s, said he had not seen her for several months and was ''heartbroken''.
Lawyers for Mr Lawrence say Ms Lewis has complied with a judge's order to return Jessica.
The youngster's case had been analysed at private family court hearings.
Mr Justice Newton had given permission for the identities of Jessica, and her mother and father, who come from Erdington, Birmingham, to be disclosed.
Lawyers for Mr Lawrence said the judge had also given permission for Jessica's return to be reported.
Solicitor Pam Sanghera - who works for The Family Firm Solicitors in Birmingham, which represents Mr Lawrence - had told how Mr Lawrence and Ms Lewis had separated in 2010 after a 10-year relationship.
Family court proceedings had begun and Mrs Sanghera said Ms Lewis had ''secretly'' married an American man in the United States.
Mr Lawrence feared that Ms Lewis would move to America with Jessica and Mrs Sanghera said a judge in Birmingham had ordered Ms Lewis not to remove Jessica without court permission.
But in March 2014 Ms Lewis and Jessica vanished.
Mrs Sanghera said police had found Ms Lewis and Jessica in Cincinnati.