Justice eludes mother as police clueless about son

Justice eludes mother as police clueless about son
Forty-seven days have passed since Anna Mathews last saw or heard from her five-year-old son.

Anna has been told that her child, Samuel, is somewhere in the United Kingdom (UK) in the custody of his father, James Robert Edward Peirce aka Tom, a British national.

That, however, is the only piece of verified information she has on the whereabouts of Samuel because Peirce, her estranged husband, had sneaked him out of India to the UK in early January, with forged travel documents, and has since remained incommunicado.

Anna, a Thiruvananthapuram-based PR professional, said she had to keep the fight for her son alive, but this is also a time of doubt and distress; and a time to question systems that cannot prevent an alleged international child abduction or make proactive follow-up interventions.

“A child has been illegally taken out of the country. Documents have been forged and the abduction was carried out after meticulous planning. The enormity of the crime is baffling, but my efforts to get the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) involved have failed,” Anna told DH. Peirce’s family has refused to intervene.

Peirce (54) has been living in India on a tourist visa for 10 years. On the morning of December 26, Anna dropped Samuel off with him at the Kollam District Family Court.

Peirce was scheduled to return Samuel to her on December 31 — in line with interim custody arrangements stipulated by the Kerala High Court — but did not. On January 18, the British High Commission in Chennai confirmed that Peirce obtained emergency travel documents for him and Samuel, from the commission in Kathmandu, and left for the UK.

The original British passports of Peirce and Samuel have been submitted to the high court. Anna, in a Facebook post on January 13, revealed details of the abduction.

The Fort Kochi police had already registered a case; leads following mobile tower locations in Goa and north India were failing to make headway when the High Commission confirmed what Anna termed was her “worst fears”.

Earlier this month, the state police informed Anna about a high court directive for Peirce’s extradition. The police said efforts to track Peirce were at a “preliminary” stage.

The case reports have been mailed to the police in London and possibilities of having Interpol involved are being explored. “Since extradition procedures involve government-level directions, we are focussing on cases filed locally; the next step will be based on warrants,” Rajkumar P, Circle Inspector, Fort Kochi, told DH. Anna said despite support from DGP Loknath Behera, lack of intent from the political leadership was leaving the trail cold.
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