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Mother's 'final farewell' to child

A woman with a learning disability has been told by a family judge that she can have no more "direct contact" with her toddler son and should say a "final farewell".

Judge Catriona Murfitt said the little boy - whose father was a convicted sex offender diagnosed with a "psychopathic disorder" - had been taken into care after a range of concerns were raised.

And the judge said she was "very far from reassured" that the woman was capable of putting her son's needs before her own - or her husband's.

She concluded that the toddler's "emotional development" might be harmed if he continued to see his mother, who is in her 20s.

Detail has emerged in a written ruling after the judge analysed the case at a hearing at Chelmsford County Court and heard evidence from social workers and a psychologist.

The woman, who wanted to have monthly supervised contact with her son, was not identified. But the judge named the local authority with responsibility for the little boy as Southend Borough Council.

Judge Murfitt said the woman had a "significant impairment in her intellectual ability".

And the judge said the woman's husband - the toddler's father - was a convicted rapist who had a "long history of violence and sexual offending".

She said the little boy, who will be two this year, had been placed in the care of another family member.

"I am satisfied ... that direct contact with his mother is not presently serving to meet any emotional need of (the toddler) and that its continuation risks causing harm to his emotional development and attachment to his primary carers," said Judge Murfitt.

"I consider it will be helpful for him to experience a final farewell visit with his mother, the memory of which will be recorded and retained in (his) life story book. To provide some continuum for (him), reminding him as he grows older that his birth mother continued to hold him in mind."

The judge said she recognised that the woman held "genuine feelings of affection for her son".

And the judge said the woman would be able to write to her son and send photographs of herself to him.

Judge Murfitt had not considered any application for contact from the boy's father. She said he had not played an active part in proceedings for more than a year.


From Belfast Telegraph