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Australian wins fight with estranged English partner over future of daughter

UK News | Published:

A judge says Ruby McKay-Uhd, who hit the headlines after disappearing with her mother Victoria McKay, must return to Australia

An Australian yoga teacher has won a High Court fight with his estranged English partner over the future of their three-year-old daughter.

A High Court judge based in the Family Division of the High Court in London had in February made a public appeal for help after Ruby McKay-Uhd disappeared with her mother, Victoria McKay, who is in her 40s.

Mr Justice Keehan said Ruby had been at the centre of family court proceedings in Melbourne, Australia, involving her mother and father, Peter Uhd, who is in his 50s.

Ruby McKay-Uhd missing
Victoria McKay, the mother of Ruby Mckay-Uhd (Dawson Cornwell/PA)

The judge said mother and daughter had subsequently disappeared.

Both were found safe and well in the Outer Hebrides about a month later following widespread publicity.

Another judge based in the Family Division of the High Court has ruled that Ruby must return to her father in Australia.

Ms McKay, who comes from Birmingham but had been living in Australia for more than 20 years, argued that Ruby would be exposed to a “grave risk of exposure to physical or psychological harm” if returned to Australia.

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Mr Uhd disputed that claim and said Ruby should return to Australia.

Mr Justice MacDonald has ruled in favour of Mr Uhd and ordered Ruby’s return to Australia.

“I am satisfied that the mother’s actions in removing Ruby from the jurisdiction of Australia represented a blatant and premeditated act of child abduction,” said the judge in a written ruling published online.

“That conclusion is reinforced by the fact that having abducted Ruby from the jurisdiction of Australia, the mother sought to go to ground in the Outer Hebrides in an effort, I am satisfied, to avoid detection.”

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Mr Justice MacDonald said he had been “left with the strong impression” that “thereafter the mother sought before this court to distort and misrepresent the facts”.

He said Australian judges should analyse any parental disputes centred on the little girl.

The judge had considered rival arguments at a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London in early May.

But he said he had decided to publish a ruling in which Ruby and her parents were named after a journalist argued that such a move would be in the public interest because there had already been widespread reporting of the little girl’s disappearance.

He said: “It seems to me that there is merit in (the) submission that it is in the public interest for the press to be able to report the final outcome of these proceedings in circumstances where there has been significant publicity during the initial stages of the same and, more widely, to report the consequences of this case of child abduction.”

– A rich Russian businessman embroiled in a family court battle with his Ukrainian ex-wife over the care of their two children recently won a fight to allow journalists covering the case to name some names.

The businessman wanted reporting restrictions, which barred journalists from revealing the identities of anyone involved, relaxed, and his bid was backed by editors at The Times, the BBC and Associated Newspapers, which publishes the Daily Mail.

A High Court judge ruled in his favour.

Mr Justice Mostyn said the businessman’s wife, Ganna Tigipko, and her father Sergiy Tigipko, a wealthy Ukrainian politician and banker, could be named.

But he said neither of the children nor their father could be named.

Ms Tigipko had taken the children out of London to Ukraine in breach of an order made in a family court last year, the judge heard.

The businessman said allowing journalists to report the case more fully may help get the children back to London.

Ms Tigipko and her father were against reporting restrictions being lifted, saying publicity that includes their names would harm the children.

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