Father who feared his daughter would be taken away sparked Gapton Hall police drama

PUBLISHED: 17:53 10 April 2019 | UPDATED: 08:54 11 April 2019

Police have been called to Gapton Hall Retail Park in Great Yarmouth.

Police have been called to Gapton Hall Retail Park in Great Yarmouth.


A father who feared his daughter was going to be taken away sparked a police swoop at a traveller site in Great Yarmouth by refusing to tell the authorities where the child was.

Police have been called to an incident at Gapton Hall retail park in Great Yarmouth.Police have been called to an incident at Gapton Hall retail park in Great Yarmouth.

Patrick Donovan, of Gapton Hall Road, admitted intentionally obstructing the efforts of Norfolk Children’s Services and the police to locate the child after a one-day emergency protection order was granted by the court on March 5.

Great Yarmouth Magistrate’s Court heard on Wednesday, April 10, that the 20-year-old and his wife were called to Haven Bridge House in Yarmouth to be told what the order meant but were “spooked” by the proceedings.

Outlining the case for the prosecution Josephine Jones said the couple refused to disclose where the child was and although they indicated it was on the site it was not found.

It was said they both kept saying the child was fine and they would not have their child taken away.

The consequences of not complying with the order were explained.

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Arthur Balls, defending, said no-one had made it clear to his client why he was having to attend at Haven Bridge House, adding: “And that spooked him.

“He thought his daughter was going to be taken away and he was not going to be able to see her.

“It stems from him not knowing what was going to happen on that day which he is bitterly apologetic for.

“We are dealing with a parent who did not know what was going to happen with their child.

“Social services are happy for him to have ongoing contact.”

The drama triggered a heavy police presence close to the Gapton Hall shopping park with some ten police cars at the scene, some parked up outside Carphone Warehouse and three at the entrance to the traveller site.

A Norfolk County Council spokesman said: “We contacted police to assist us, following concerns about the welfare of a child.

“The safety of the child is our first concern and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

Donovan was ordered to pay £215 in fines and costs including £20 for breaching a previous, unrelated, suspended sentence.

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