Extradited mum set for USA kidnap trial

Eileen Clark moved to the UK with her three children

Eileen Clark moved to the UK with her three children

First published in News

AN AMERICAN mother-of-three is expected to now go on trial in the USA after being extradited from her Oxfordshire home.

Eileen Clark, who lived in West Way, Botley, has been forced to travel to the States to face charges of “international parental kidnapping” after she fled to Oxford with her children following her divorce 16 years ago.

She is alleged to have illegally removed the children, all now in their 20s, from their country following the breakdown of her marriage in 1998.

Human rights group Liberty said she was put on a plane by police officers at London Heathrow on Thursday.

Liberty lawyer Emma Norton said on Thursday: “How can it be in the public interest to haul this vulnerable, terrified woman across the Atlantic to face her alleged abuser in court, thousands of miles from her home, friends and family?

“Eileen’s desperate case is a perfect example of how inhuman, unbalanced and unjust our extradition system has become.

“The UK has comprehensively failed to understand the specific needs and distress of domestic violence, and has utterly failed Eileen today.”

The former aerobics trainer and model moved to Britain with her children Chandler, Hayden and Rebekah in December 1998.

Ms Clark, 57, was arrested at her home in July 2010 and Westminster magistrates ruled in March last year that her extradition should go ahead.

She appealed, but that was quashed in the High Court.

Until her arrest in 2010 Mrs Clark, an American citizen, was on the FBI's “most wanted” list.

In dismissing Mrs Clark’s last-ditch challenge, Lord Justice Treacy emphasised “the strong public interest in extradition between friendly nations”.

Rejecting arguments that her alleged crime was ‘trivial’, the judge added: “The removal of children from another jurisdiction without parental consent is a serious matter and recognised as such by our courts and foreign courts.”

Whilst accepting that Mrs Clark was not “a classic fugitive” from justice, he said that she had been “at the very best wilfully blind” to the charges and had “taken pains” not to alert US investigators to her presence in Britain.

Andrew Smith, MP for Oxford East, said: “I have made extensive representations to the Home Secretary on her behalf, in line with the arguments being put forward by Liberty and her lawyers.

“In the end it was the courts that decided her extradition should go ahead. I hope the important points about the history of alleged domestic abuse she had suffered, which were ruled out of consideration on her extradition case, will be properly considered by the US court.”

She is expected to have to face John Clark, her ex-husband and her children’s father, across a US court room. Her lawyers claimed he had subjected her to domestic violence, leaving her with post traumatic stress disorder.

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