Father's heartbreak after eight-year-old son is 'abducted' by mother and taken to Russia
PUBLISHED: 17:41 09 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:08 11 October 2019
A heartbroken father says his world has been "turned upside down" after his son was allegedly abducted and taken to Russia by his ex-partner.
Ian Kettlewell's worst fears became reality on September 30 when, hours after taking his son to school, he was told the boy's mother had taken him away.
Waveney MP Peter Aldous confirmed he is liaising with the Foreign Office and has written to foreign secretary Dominic Raab to seek assistance in bringing him back to the country.
Despite desperate attempts to block his passport, the child and his mother, a Russian national who had been living in Lowestoft, were logged boarding a plane to Russia at 10.45pm that night.
Mr Kettlewell, 35, said: "It has turned my life upside down. It's something that happens in a film. I keep waking up and thinking it was a dream. It is better for me to think he is having an adventure and is enjoying it. It is heart-wrenching and I feel helpless."
After lengthy court battles, it was decided it was in his son's best interests to remain in the UK, after the youngster had been diagnosed with autism in 2017.
His parents, who stopped living together in 2013, were granted 50-50 access in September 2018, with orders in place to allow Mr Kettlewell to hold both of his passports in an effort to prevent his abduction.
However, after another request from his mother to move to Russia was rejected by the family courts in June, his mother was granted permission to take him on holiday there one month later.
Mr Kettlewell said: "You try to do as much as you can before to protect your child because you have confidence and hope in the family court system.
"When she applied to take him permanently, she had to show evidence of everything she had in place for him. She had arranged for somewhere to live, a school place and a job to start a new life.
"He can't speak the language and they decided it was in his best interests to stay here.
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"Within a month of that being rejected, she applied for the holiday and I felt like I had no choice but to comply, but we had agreements in place. Since they returned, she kept [our son's] passport and refused to hand it back to me."
After initiating court action to take the passport back, Mr Kettlewell tried to deliver court papers in person, only to find someone else living in his former partner's home.
The telecoms engineer said: "She had her house on the market and I'd found out she had moved out under the cover of midnight days before. She left with next to nothing. His curtains were still up and there were still flowers in the windows.
"I thought she must have moved house so I phoned the school to get their help delivering the papers and they rang back to say his mother had taken him out.
"I didn't know what to do. I put my shoes on and ran out the door but I didn't know where I was going.
"I knew he had been taken from school and she would be attempting to go to the airport but I thought there was a block on his passport so I was quite confident and hoping I would get a phone call from the police to say she had been stopped and was in custody, but that was when they told me he was on a flight the night before. The toughest thing is that we almost stopped her."
A spokesperson for Suffolk Police confirmed they were investigating a reported abduction.
They said: "A report of a child abduction was made to police on September 30. Inquiries are continuing into this matter."
Mr Kettlewell said: "[My son] is awesome. He loves space at the minute. Everything from black holes to rockets. It will occupy him for ages.
"He wants to be an astronaut when he grows up, or build space rockets.
"The bedtime stories we read are all space books.
"We do so much together, going on bike rides and canoeing."