Beds, Herts & Bucks

Polish murderer loses children appeal bid

A Polish man convicted of murdering his wife has lost an appeal to keep his two children in the UK.

The man, who cannot be named, wanted "direct contact" with the children instead of them being sent back to Poland to live with extended family, the Court of Appeal heard.

Hertfordshire County Council also appealed against the county court ruling, with the intention of keeping the pair with their UK carers.

Both cases were rejected.

The children, who are both under 11, lived in the UK for several years with their parents and were present in the home when their mother was murdered.

Council 'dilatory'

The children's father and council bosses appealed after a county court judge ruled the youngsters should move to Poland to live with a maternal aunt and uncle.

The court heard that the father - who is serving a minimum 17-year jail term - wanted to maintain a relationship, which he said would have been "rendered extremely unlikely" if they left the country.

They had been placed in foster care since the murder and the council wanted them to stay with their carers. The authority was not in favour of the children having direct contact with their father.

However, appeal judges Sir Terence Etherton, Chancellor of the High Court, Lord Justice Kitchin and Lady Justice Macur dismissed both appeals.

'Almost risible'

The court heard the local authority was "dilatory" in the execution of its role in legal proceedings relating to the children's welfare.

It also heard the council pursued litigation "unreasonably" and evidence contained in one report by a social work team manager was described as "almost risible".

Lady Justice Macur said the county court judge's ruling had been "plausibly reasoned" and withstood "all criticism".

She described the appeals as "without merit" and said the council had appealed "unreasonably" and should pay legal costs run up by the children's uncle and aunt.

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