A father has been permanently banned from seeing his children after their mother waged a vicious campaign ‘demonising’ him and ‘alienating’ them from him.
Family court judge Stephen Wildblood today apologised to the father, who he said was an ‘intelligent and loving parent’ who had spent eight years fighting for his children in a ‘heartbreaking and expensive’ case.
And in a scathing attack Judge Wildblood blamed the mother, pointing out her children would suffer long-term harm as a result of her bitter actions.
Attempts to move the children from their mother’s home to their father’s home failed and the man has now ended an eight-year legal fight for contact with them.
Judge Wildblood, the chief family judge in Bristol, gave details of the case in a written ruling published online following a private family court hearing.
The judge said a psychiatrist involved had suggested that the woman had allowed, or possibly encouraged, the ‘demonisation’ of her former partner.
He said the family could not be identified, has not said how many children are involved or given their ages, and has not said where the hearing was staged – but said the public should be made aware of the case.
He said it was an example of ‘how badly wrong things can go’ and of how complex cases are when one parent alienates children from another parent.
The judge said the man was intelligent and ‘plainly’ loved his children.
Judge Wildblood added: ‘No professional has suggested that there is anything about this father that renders him unsuited to have contact with his children.
‘There have been consistent recommendations throughout the eight-year history of these proceedings from a wide spectrum of professionals that contact should take place between the father and the children.
‘All professionals involved in this case have concluded that the mother has alienated the children from the father.’
Judge Wildblood said the children would have nothing to do with their father or his family.
They would not acknowledge cards or presents, expressed ‘unjustified and illogical’ complaints about his letters, and had ‘false memories’ of how he had behaved towards them.
The judge said it was ‘beyond doubt’ that the children would suffer ‘significant and long-term emotional harm’.
He added: ‘I am afraid that the cause of that harm lies squarely with this mother.
‘Whatever may be her difficulties, she is an adult and a parent with parental responsibility for her children.
‘That parental responsibility, which she shares with the father, requires her to act in the best interests of her children.
‘It also required her to promote the relationship between these children and their father. She has failed to do so.’
Judge Wildblood ended his ruling with a message to the man, saying: ‘This has been a long, heart-breaking and expensive set of events for you to endure. I am truly sorry.’
This comes after a woman recently lost a fight over the care of her 12-year-old son after a High Court judge concluded that she had alienated the youngster from his father.
The boy, who has been at the centre of a family court battle between his separated parents for most of his life, was living with his mother.
But Mr Justice Keehan decided that the boy must move to live with his father, after deciding the woman had ‘alienated’ the boy from her ex-husband.
The judge said the boy was suffering ’emotional and social harm’ because of his father’s ‘absence’.
He outlined detail of the case in a ruling published online after analysing evidence at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London. He said the man lived in the south of England and the woman in the Midlands.