'Abducted' children returned to the UK

Rachael Neustadt
Image caption Rachael Neustadt had not seen her sons for 18 months before they were reunited

Two boys, who were kept in Russia by their father in breach of a family court order, have been returned to their mother in London.

Rachael Neustadt, from Hendon, said Ilya Neustadt took their two sons on holiday in December 2012 then refused to hand them back to her.

At a High Court hearing Mr Justice Peter Jackson was told by lawyers that the brothers had been found in Moscow.

Ms Neustadt said she was "thrilled and relieved" that the boys were home.

"We have so much to catch up on and so many hugs to make up for," she said.

"I am infinitely grateful to everyone for their help and prayers."

Landmark ruling

Ms Neustadt was the primary carer of Daniel, eight, and his brother Jonathan, six, when her former husband failed to return them to her care, the hearing in the Family Division of the High Court heard.

She began legal action and a High Court judge ordered that Mr Neustadt return the children to England, but he failed to comply.

Ms Neustadt, a former teacher from the US, went on to win a landmark ruling in Moscow City Appeal Court in November.

The Russian court said that her sons had been illegally kept in Russia in breach of a UK High Court order.

The case was the first to successfully use the 1996 Hague Convention on child abduction in England and Russia, which Russia ratified in June and the UK signed last year.

Ms Neustadt's lawyers said the boys had been found in an apartment with their paternal grandmother.

The Russian authorities had overseen their collection and handover in accordance with court orders, the court heard.

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