The child, a boy, was seven years old at the date of the alleged wrongful removal. He had lived in Scotland all of his life. The parents were divorced and the father had been granted care of the boy and an older sister, the mother access. The parents were involved in ongoing litigation over custody for approximately three years before the removal of the child.
On 15 February 2001 the father gave an undertaking to the Ayr Sheriff Court that he would not remove the children to the United States. However, sometime between 15 February and 29 March he did take his son to the United States. His daughter was left behind because she did not wish to go.
On 29 March the Ayr Sheriff Court found the father to be in contempt of the court and issued a warrant for his arrest. The mother petitioned for return of the child.