The child, a boy, was 13 at the date of the alleged wrongful removal. He had spent the majority of his life in Ireland. Since 1987 he had lived entirely with his mother and did not see his father between 1987 and late 1992.
The boy had an extremely disruptive childhood. He had been the subject of eighty applications to the Irish courts. There was significant evidence that he had been the subject of domestic violence and he had run away from home on numerous occasions.
On 19 October 1993 the father took the child to London in breach of the mother’s rights of custody. On their arrival the father took the child to a police protection unit.
On 5 November 1993 the High Court ordered the return of the child.
On 10 November the child instructed his own solicitors. He was however refused leave by the Court of Appeal to be joined as a party. The boy then disappeared. On 17 November the return order was stayed and on 24 November the child returned to the children’s home where he had been accommodated.
On 29 November 1993 the child was joined as a party by the High Court and given leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal.