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'Over-indulgent' mother banned from seeing children for three years PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Colin Fernandez   

A wealthy financier's former wife has been banned by a court from seeing her three children for three years after she was found to be turning them against him.

The woman was ruled to be an 'overindulgent' parent.

The highly unusual ban came after social workers concluded she was prompting her children to make allegations against their father.

She was even jailed for a month when she approached one of the children in the street and told him she loved him, in defiance of the ban.

She could now be jailed again this summer for posting a video about her situation on the internet.

Imposing the ban, a female judge said the mother had placed her children in 'an intolerable situation of conflict of loyalties resulting them in suffering serious emotional harm'.

The judge added that she had 'serious concern about (the mother) infantilising the children' and 'encouraging them to make complaints about the father'.

The mother, who has a daughter and two sons, is permitted only to write to them and send presents worth up to £25. None of the family can be named.

The case is likely to renew calls for greater scrutiny of family courts, which are still shrouded in secrecy despite attempts to create more openness.

The mother's marriage began to collapse in 2004, leading to a complete breakdown in relations with her husband.

She said: 'Looking back, I think I was still suffering from post-natal depression and I was unhappy with the way my husband was talking to me and the children.

'The rapid expansion in the size of the family was quite stressful and our marriage just disintegrated.'

Social services put her boys on an ' at risk' register after they showed behavioural problems.

It was agreed she could care for the children each day at the family home, but would hand them over to the father each evening and stay the night with her own mother.

Her access was cut down to one hour a week after social services believed she was drinking too much  -  by her own admission 'two or three glasses of wine' a night.

She was also convicted of an assault on her husband after scratching his arm. During supervised visits, a social worker noted the children were making serious allegations about their father's treatment of them and decided the mother was encouraging them to do so.

The wife said: 'When they said things about their father I was alarmed and wanted them investigated, but when I realised how the social workers were viewing things, I tried to restrain them from talking that way.'

A psychiatrist's report said: '(The mother's) willingness to listen and agree with the children's complaints has undermined any attempts made to provide better management of the children.'

The wife completed a parenting course but it was felt that she was still encouraging the children to complain about the father.

In August 2006, Judge Isobel Plumstead banned the mother from seeing her children for two years 'to give them a break', despite her children's 'constant wish' to see her.

In October 2007, she was jailed for a month after approaching the eldest child in the street. When he ran off, she followed, pleading that she loved him and only wanted to help.

Although the two-year ban expired last year, the court has continued to stop the woman's direct access to her children.

This summer she will ask for access again but her ex-husband has applied to have her jailed for posting a video about the case on YouTube.

Anthony Douglas, chief executive of Cafcass, the family court advisory service, said: 'In a minority of cases, continuing contact with a parent determined to continue a relationship battle after separating can cause their child immense long-term emotional harm.

'Ending contact with a parent like that can help children grow up and move on.'


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