Devon

Jailed grandmother not forced to return dementia sufferer to UK

A grandmother jailed for taking an elderly man with dementia to a care home in his native Portugal will not be forced to return him to the UK.

Teresa Kirk was sentenced to six months in prison for refusing to return him, but was released on appeal in November.

Devon social workers claimed they had responsibility for the man, who is in his 80s.

Sir James Munby, president of the Court of Protection, said trying to enforce the order would be a "futile exercise".

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was born in Madeira but had lived in Devon for 50 years.

He was cared for by Mrs Kirk, who lives in Brighton, when his health began to deteriorate.

Mrs Kirk travelled with him to Portugal at a point social workers claimed they were responsible for him.

When Mrs Kirk refused to comply with a Court of Protection order to return him, she was taken to court by Devon County Council and found guilty of contempt.

In a written judgement, Sir James said it was "plain, beyond any doubt" that Mrs Kirk would not comply with the order, because of her sincerely held view it would not be in the man's best interests.

"It is futile to make any further attempt to subject Mrs Kirk to coercive orders designed to obtain the man's return to this country - the Court of Protection will not be invited to make any such order." added Sir James.

He said the court was not "caving in" at Mrs Kirk's refusal to comply, but having already spent seven weeks in prison, he doubted a "further dose of this medicine" would change her mind.

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