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Lawyer Loses Daughter
November 8, 2007 permalink
What should a father do when he sees two women roughly treating his baby daughter? Apparently taking the baby from them by force and leaving is not the correct response. British lawyer Jonathan Phillips has lost his daughter and she will be placed for adoption. This case acts as well as a warning to lawyers: we are more powerful than you, and if you cause us trouble, we will take your children. Remember that the next time you wonder why a lawyer fails to provide effective representation in family court.
The Daily Mail, 08/11/07
Solicitor jailed for snatching own baby daughter from social workers
By ANDREW LEVY
A solicitor who snatched his baby from two care workers before going on the run has been jailed for 20 months.
Jonathan Phillips, 40, punched the two women, one of whom was heavily pregnant, before grabbing his daughter and speeding away in his car.
The child had been taken into care because of concerns over his wife's mental health - although the couple insist she does not present a risk.
They were allowed to visit their daughter for two hours every day at a family contact centre in King's Lynn, Norfolk. But Phillips lashed out because he felt staff were treating her too roughly.
He shouted, "Take your hands off my baby" before overturning a table, attacking the women and seizing his child, who was four months old at the time.
Phillips, a soldier in the Territorial Army, fled with his wife Erica and the child, who cannot be named for legal reasons. They were stopped on the M6 near Birmingham later the same day.
Phillips, of Downham Market, Norfolk, was sent to prison after admitting kidnap and two charges of assault causing actual bodily harm.
Before he was sentenced he said: "I was acting under extreme provocation. Social services had taken our baby into care under dubious circumstances and whenever we visited her, the staff handled her roughly, overfed her and generally ill-treated her.
"I lashed out in the heat of the moment. I could see my family crumbling before me.
"Now the tragedy is that she looks set to be adopted and we will not be able to see her again until she is 18."
Norwich Crown Court heard that Norfolk County Council gained an interim care order in May to place the child in foster care because of Mrs Phillips's mental health. The couple say they have independent evidence showing she was capable of looking after her baby.
Mark Shelley, defending, said Phillips was "a well respected and popular solicitor".
"It was not a planned snatch," he said. "It was a culmination of emotions as he could see his daughter slipping away from him."
The court heard the two care workers suffered cuts and bruises during the attack in August.
Phillips was jailed on Tuesday for 12 months for kidnap and eight months to run consecutively for the assaults.
"These are extremely serious charges and I cannot see them in any other light," Judge Paul Downes told him.
Mrs Phillips, a qualified cardiology nurse, said afterwards that staff at the contact centre were rude and would go out of their way to upset them. She added: 'My husband is a decent man and a kind and loving father and had no criminal convictions before this.'
Norfolk County Council said the sentence sent out a strong message that violence against its staff was unacceptable.
Source: Daily Mail (UK)