Search

Judge rules on parents' assessment

PUBLISHED: 09:35 12 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:59 22 October 2010

STEVE DOWNES

A family court judge took the unusual step of releasing a public statement on Saturday as he imposed a blackout on reporting the ongoing saga of a Norfolk couple and their baby.

A family court judge took the unusual step of releasing a public statement on Saturday as he imposed a blackout on reporting the ongoing saga of a Norfolk couple and their baby.

Judge Philip Curl set out his reasons after agreeing that Nicky Hardingham and husband Mark should be placed at a residential assessment centre where they can be observed with their child.

Judge Curl, who made a care order putting the baby under the jurisdiction of Norfolk County Council, also agreed a strict injunction that stops all future media reports of the case.

Following the hearings at Norwich County Court, Judge Curl wrote out a statement "because of the widespread interest in the case".

He said: "I have decided to take the unusual course of publicly summarising the outcome of today's hearing.

"Before doing so, I have discussed my intention with the legal representatives of the local authority, the mother and father and the guardian - all have agreed that I should do so."

Judge Curl said he had made the interim care order and agreed to the residential assessment centre placement.

He said the assessment centre, the location and name of which were not to be identified, would also be contacted by the council, the parents and the child's legal guardian. The centre would report to the court "in due course".

He added: "It is the intention of the court, and the wish of not only the local authority and the guardian, but also particularly of the mother and father that the parents should now be left in peace to concentrate on caring for their child."

The case began as soon as Nicky, Mark and the baby landed by ferry in Wales, meaning the child was under British jurisdiction.

They fled to Ireland for the birth in a bid to stop the county council from taking their new-born child from them.

Their older three children were adopted after one of the children developed unexplained fractures which child protection officials believed were caused by physical abuse - a claim strongly denied by the couple, who said the injuries could be explained by a history of brittle bone disease in Nicky's family.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press