Judge rules mothers’ actions were ‘blatant and premeditated act of child abduction’

An Australian yoga teacher has won a High Court fight with his estranged English partner over the future of their three-year-old daughter.

A High Court judge based in the Family Division of the High Court in London had in February made a public appeal for help after Ruby McKay-Uhd disappeared with her mother, Victoria McKay, who is in her 40s.

Mr Justice Keehan said Ruby had been at the centre of family court proceedings in Melbourne, Australia, involving her mother and father, Peter Uhd, who is in his 50s.

He said Ruby (pictured), who was born in Australia, had wrongfully been brought to the UK by her mother – who is also a yoga teacher – in September and a family court judge in Melbourne had ordered her return to Australia.

The judge said mother and daughter had subsequently disappeared.

Both were found safe and well in the Outer Hebrides about a month later following widespread publicity.

Another judge based in the Family Division of the High Court has ruled that Ruby must return to her father in Australia.

Ms McKay, who comes from Birmingham but had been living in Australia for more than 20 years, argued that Ruby would be exposed a “grave risk of exposure to physical or psychological harm” if returned to in Australia.

Mr Uhd disputed that claim and said Ruby should return to Australia.

Mr Justice MacDonald has ruled in favour of Mr Uhd and ordered Ruby’s return to Australia.

“I am satisfied that the mother’s actions in removing Ruby from the jurisdiction of Australia represented a blatant and premeditated act of child abduction,” said the judge in a written ruling published online.

“That conclusion is reinforced by the fact that having abducted Ruby from the jurisdiction of Australia, the mother sought to go to ground in the Outer Hebrides in an effort, I am satisfied, to avoid detection.”

Mr Justice MacDonald said he had been “left with the strong impression” that “thereafter the mother sought before this court to distort and misrepresent the facts”.

He said Australian judges should analyse any parental disputes centred on the little girl.

The judge had considered rival arguments at a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London in early May.

But he said he had decided to publish a ruling in which Ruby and her parents were named after a journalist argued that such a move would be in the public interest because there had already been widespread reporting of the little girl’s disappearance.

He said: “It seems to me that there is merit in (the) submission that it is in the public interest for the press to be able to report the final outcome of these proceedings in circumstances where there has been significant publicity during the initial stages of the same and, more widely, to report the consequences of this case of child abduction.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Dawson Cornwell / PA Wire.