The children, a boy and a girl, were aged 13 and 11 1/2 respectively at the date of the alleged wrongful retention. They had moved from England and had lived in Denmark for 7 years. The parents were divorced. The mother had the responsibility of care and control of the children and the father had staying access for certain dates throughout the year.
The parents agreed in February 1996 that the children should come to England between 21 June and 10 August 1996.
However, the mother subsequently suggested to the father that the boy live with him for an extended period of time. On 30 April 1996 the boy was sent to England on a one-way ticket. The girl followed on 23 June 1996 with a return ticket supplied by the father.
On 29 July 1996 the father informed the mother that he would not be returning the children. The mother immediately consulted the Danish Central Authority but was told nothing could be done until after the agreed date for return. On 12 August 1996 the mother initiated proceedings under the Hague Convention for the children’s return.