The children were ages 7 and 3 at the date of the alleged wrongful retention. They had lived in the United States of America all of their lives. The parents were married and had joint rights of custody.
On 22 February 1994 the mother travelled to England with the two children to visit her parents. She was scheduled to return on 8 March 1994. On 1 March the mother telephoned the father and told him that she would not be returning to the United States of America.
In October 1994 the father applied for return of the children under the Convention. In answer to the originating summons, the mother submitted two sworn affidavits asserting physical abuse by the father against herself and the children.