Abducted Portsmouth children's '˜wicked' father faces new jail term
A father who served a prison sentence for abducting his two children from Portsmouth to the Middle East is facing jail again after failing to re-unite the youngsters with their desperate mother.
Former bank clerk Usama Al Barwani took his daughter Aishah and son Faris to live with his relatives in Oman in 2012 following the breakdown of his relationship with their mother Lacey Plato.
He was subsequently convicted of abduction and was released in November last year after serving half of a four-year jail term imposed by a crown court judge.
Miss Plato, 33, who is from Portsmouth, has brought family court litigation in a bid to get her daughter and son, now aged 12 and eight, back to England.
Al Barwani, who is also in thirties, is now facing a bid to have him committed to prison for contempt of court following hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London.
At the latest hearing, the judge hearing the case, Mr Justice Hayden, said: ‘There are few cases of abduction that are as sad and as painful as this one.’
He said of Al Barwani, who was present in the courtroom: ‘He has let his children down appallingly.’
The judge pointed out that apart from a brief visit in February 2013, ‘these children have been entirely deprived of their mother’s care’.
He added: ‘He has caused them harm. His son and daughter have lost years of their mother that will never be recovered.’
The judge said that at a hearing in December, following Al Barwani’s release from jail, he had ‘agreed to cause the children to be handed over to the care and control of the British Embassy in Oman by January 6 this year’.
He said: ‘He has given evidence today which I have found entirely unconvincing. He is a shameless liar.’
Mr Justice Hayden said Al Barwani needed to hear that his children would blame him ‘for the rest of their lives’ for depriving them of their relationship with their mother.
During the hearing, a tearful Miss Plato told the court: ‘I just want it to be over. I just want to see them.’
The proceedings were adjourned for Al Barwani to obtain legal representation for the committal proceedings, which are to be heard on a date to be fixed.
Another judge, overseeing an earlier stage of the litigation, had described Al Barwani as ‘’disgraceful’’.
Mr Justice Moor said it was rare that a court was faced with a father who could behave so ‘’wickedly’’.