Snatched tot Sophie found at Scottish caravan park
The parents of snatched toddler Sophie Anderson were believed to be facing police questioning today after the 17-month-old turned up safe and well in Scotland.
Little Sophie, who has been in care since birth, was found by police late last night in a caravan park in Dumfries. A man and a woman, believed to be her parents, were arrested, while the tot was taken into the care of Scottish Social Services.
Police forces across the UK and the Republic have been on alert since Sophie was picked up by her mother Lucy Anderson (30) from a Social Services office in Banbridge on Monday to be taken to a mother and toddler group a short distance away.
Instead, Ms Anderson, who is from Co Londonderry, took a taxi to the Stena Line ferry terminal in Belfast, where she boarded a ferry to Stranraer at 11.45am.
The baby’s father Stuart Creaney (22), from Banbridge, had taken an earlier ferry.
Police said today they arrested a 30-year-old woman and a 22-year-old man following last night’s dramatic discovery of Sophie at the caravan park.
A police spokesman said: “They will be transferred to Northern Ireland at a later stage for questioning.”
A PSNI spokeswoman later said abduction-type offences could result from arrests made in connection with a missing child.
PSNI officers had travelled to Scotland to search for Sophie, supported by Scottish officers.
The tot was this morning in the care of Social Services in Dumfries who will look after her until representatives of the Southern Health Trust can travel to Scotland to bring her home.
Sophie has been in the care of
Social Services since birth and has been looked after by foster parents for around one year.
Miss Anderson had been able to see her daughter every day under the terms of a contact agreement with Social Services.
Brian Dornan, head of children’s services at the Southern Trust, said yesterday there had been no fears that Sophie would
come to deliberate harm from her parents but that they did not have adequate skills to look after her full-time.
DUP MLA Jim Wells, head of Stormont’s health committee, welcomed the news of Sohpie’s discovery.
He said: “I am relieved that this has ended with good news and that Sophie has been found none the worse for her ordeal.”
But he said the alleged actions of Sophie’s parents should not change the attitude of health trusts to enabling unsupervised contact between children in care and their birth parents where there is no risk of physical or sexual abuse.
He added that an investigation must be carried out by the Southern Trust but said its child protection was found to be “extremely well managed” in a recent report.
“They are generally getting this right,” Mr Wells said.