Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Portugal couple reunited with child

Stephen Street and Colette McPartland had their daughter taken into care in Portugal

A British couple who had their young daughter taken into care in Portugal have been reunited with their child.

Stephen Street and Colette McPartland, who both work as teachers in Portugal, were accused of being drunk and failing to look after their daughter Scarlett.

Portuguese police said the couple had allowed their two-year-old daughter to wander off by herself next to a busy road in Carcavelos. But they said the accusations were lies and have now been given their daughter back.

Speaking on ITV1's Daybreak, Ms McPartland, from Teesside, said: "Those 10 days were the hardest in my life and it's such a relief to have her back. She's very easy going and adaptable so we hope she's going to be her old self again soon.

"I had drunk two glasses of wine as I'm four months pregnant and the doctor said it was no risk to my baby. We don't know why the police got involved. There were lots of children running around and she was never more than a few feet away from us.

"She was never far away from us and she was never near a busy road. Everything that has been reported is untrue and we are very shocked and very hurt by all the things that have been said. We still cannot believe what has happened."

The couple, who have lived in Portugal for five years, say they are now considering leaving the country.

Ms McPartland said: "We are not sure if we will stay here but it's too soon to make a decision. We were very happy here with lots of friends and jobs we enjoy but at the moment I don't feel safe. I'm scared to leave the house as I'm scared it could happen again."

Mr Street said: "It's not a nice feeling to know your children could be kidnapped by armed people. We were just having a very quiet family evening together and minding our own business.

"We have been made to feel like bad parents by the media but social services have completely exonerated us. It should be very interesting for the Portuguese police to hear that as there has been no apology."

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