A MOTHER who fled to Oxford with her children after her divorce in America 12 years ago is facing extradition, charged with child kidnapping.
Eileen Clark, 53, has been listed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list and has been arrested by the Metropolitan Police, despite her now-adult children wanting to stay with her in the UK.
Now the controversial US-UK extradition treaty could be used to ship her back to America in handcuffs to stand trial, without a British court ever considering the strength of evidence against her.
Mrs Clark insists she has acted as any other mother would have, has always tried to cooperate with the authorities and was never asked to return to the States.
The mum-of-three said she was too scared to remain in her marriage to husband John Clark when she left her New Mexico home in 1995.
A year after her divorce in 1997, when both parents were granted custody, she moved to Britain with her three children. They are now aged 17 to 23.
But legal proceedings resumed in the US courts, leading her to be charged with custodial interference.
As far as Mrs Clark was aware, all charges were dropped in 2004 and a warrant for her arrest was quashed.
But three years later, she found herself listed on the FBI website for “kidnapping” her children and taking them abroad.
In 2009, on the advice of lawyers, Mrs Clark’s sons Chandler, now 23, and Hayden, 20, contacted the Santa Fe Police Department to say they were not missing, but living safely and happily with their mother in the UK.
But to the family’s horror, the FBI then listed them as “endangered adults”.
On July 29, British police officers arrived at her house and arrested her, telling her the American authorities wanted her extradition for “international parental kidnap”.
Mrs Clark said: “I thought I was on Candid Camera.
“As far as I knew, all charges had been dismissed. I could hardly breathe.”
She spent the night in the cells at St Aldate’s police station, before being taken to London for further questioning.
Now the US Government wants her extradition without British courts hearing the case against her. Her fate will be determined at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in November.
Mrs Clark said: “It has been so scary, although everyone including the police has been really kind. I am so worried for my children.
“I have been mugged at knifepoint in New York, but nothing frightened me half as much as this.”
She added: “I feel like I am being treated like a terrorist. Surely the FBI should be more preoccupied with really big things.
“There is something very strange that I should be so important, when I have never had more than a parking ticket.”