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'Kidnap' mother loses court battle

An American mother-of-three has failed in a renewed bid to block her extradition from the UK to the US on charges of kidnapping her own children.

Eileen Clark, now 54, fled with her three children from an unhappy marriage over a decade ago.

Lawyers for Mrs Clark, a US citizen living in West Way, Oxford, fought extradition on the grounds that it would breach her human rights.

The children were removed from the family home in New Mexico in 1995 and from the US in 1998.

The Home Secretary decided to maintain the original extradition order, following a reassessment, in August 2013.

But the case returned to court following fresh human rights submissions and a new diagnosis that Mrs Clark was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to her history of domestic violence and abuse in the 1990s.

Today Lord Justice Treacy and Mr Justice Nicol, sitting in London, rejected the latest challenge.

Lord Justice Treacy said the court was "dubious" about the long-standing PTSD claim and there was a failure to establish "a cogent case".

The judge also said assertions that an allegation of international kidnapping involving one's own children was a "trivial" offence did not carry any real weight.

The removal of children without parental consent was "a serious matter" and recognised as such by both domestic and foreign courts.

The judge said: "The need for international co-operation is particularly strong.

"In this case the impact of the admitted removal of the three children from the USA in 1998 continued over a number of years until each of them entered adulthood."

The judge declared t here was no arguable case that the decision to extradite was a disproportionate breach of Mrs Clark's right to family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Mrs Clark was arrested at her Oxfordshire home in July 2010 following an American government request for her return.

Her first husband, John Clark, started legal proceedings against her after she left the marital home, at first going to live with friends in California.

In June 1995, state prosecutors charged her with "custodial interference". The marriage was dissolved in February 1997 with both parents retaining legal custody.

Her former husband, who never saw the children while they were growing up, continued to pursue his case against her through the US courts, leading to her eventually being indicted by a grand jury for "international parental kidnapping" after fleeing to the UK.

In the UK, Mrs Clark married her second husband Ron Woolsey. Even though they are now divorced Mr Woolsey continued to support her and her children.

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