Grandfather tells of family’s year of abduction anguish

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The Emsworth grandfather of two abducted children has told of the terrible toll on him and his family.

Steve Grant has suffered a year of torment while seeking to help his daughter Lacey Plato get her eight-year-old daughter Aisha and five-year-old son Faris back from Oman.

Steve Grant, father of Lacey Plato, pictured with his grandchildren Aisha and Faris Al-Barwani, who were abducted and taken to Oman by their father, Lacey's former partner Usama Al Barwani

Steve Grant, father of Lacey Plato, pictured with his grandchildren Aisha and Faris Al-Barwani, who were abducted and taken to Oman by their father, Lacey's former partner Usama Al Barwani

They were taken there by their father, Lacey’s former partner Usama Al-Barwani, last summer after he visited the family at their Portsmouth home.

Despite a High Court order, he has failed to return them from his home in the Omani capital Muscat.

Yesterday, The News revealed that Lacey has made a personal plea to Prime Minister David Cameron to intervene and put pressure on the Omani government to secure the return of the children, who are British citizens.

Steve, who has flown to Oman four times with his daughter in an effort to persuade Mr Al-Barwani to return the children, said: ‘This last year has been hell.

‘I felt so close to the children and now not being able to see them and to be frustrated every way down the line leaves me feeling angry and hurt that this has been allowed to go on without anybody doing anything about it.

‘It’s cost me the home I was living in when this all started.

‘Trips backwards and forwards are an expensive business – you are talking about tens of thousands of pounds in travelling and hotels and loss of earnings.

‘It has cost me a higher-profile job because I could not concentrate on the work, dealing with all this going on at the same time.

‘It takes over your life.’

Yesterday, Lacey emailed the Prime Minister, writing: ‘My children are young and need me in their lives.

‘They ask me on a regular basis to go and get them and bring them home to the UK which is heartbreaking as a mother as it is just not possible for me to do that.

‘My children are British and were born here and I feel it is only right that more action be taken.’

‘David Cameron should do everything he can’

Steve Grant says he fully supports his daughter in her plea to the Prime Minister to intervene personally.

‘My message to David Cameron is simple,’ he said.

‘As a father himself and as the father of the country to a certain extent, these are British children who belong to this country and I feel that he should do everything in his power to help get those children back to where they belong and where they want to be.’

Mr Grant added: ‘It angers me that the government has not put more pressure on Oman. On the very day that we got a letter from William Hague’s office saying effectively the Foreign Office could not do anything and that we should go through the Omani courts, TV showed pictures of Mr Cameron stopping in Oman and shaking hands with its leaders.

‘We are training them and selling them ships but we cannot put pressure on them to get back British citizens.’

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