South East Wales

Missing girl's family jailed for not revealing her location

Jacqueline Davies Image copyright PA

The grandparents and aunt of a five-year-old girl at the centre of a custody battle have been sentenced to 12 days jail for contempt of court.

It followed a decision by a High Court judge who ruled they had lied when asked where Alice Davies was.

The High Court hearing in London was told the child had since been found safe and well in Russia with her mother, Jacqueline, 49.

Brian and Patricia Davies from near Cardiff were released for time served.

The girl's aunt, Melanie Williams, was also released.

The couple, from Pentyrch, and Ms Williams, a mother of two, had been remanded in custody on Friday after Mr Justice Keehan at the Family Division of the High Court in London concluded they had lied when asked for information about the child's whereabouts.

Ms Davies and her daughter went missing in 2012 and were thought to have fled to Russia.

'Misguided loyalty'

Mr Justice Keehan had adjourned sentencing until Wednesday after hearing evidence in open court and ruling that Alice could be identified.

At the hearing, the court was told the girl had been located in Russia and would be returned to the UK by next week.

A lawyer representing Mrs and Ms Davies and Ms Williams told the court they had acted out of "misguided loyalty" and were "very contrite".

Mr Justice Keehan said in the light of Alice's discovery all three could be released.

He imposed a 12-day prison sentence on each and said they should serve half that sentence.

He said time spent on remand would form part of the sentence and therefore all three could be released on Wednesday.

The judge said Alice and her mother had been found as a result of media reports.

He suggested that Ms Davies had been working in Russia.

Legal proceedings

The judge said her employers had told her about what had happened to her parents after seeing media reports and added: "The fact that this matter was heard in open court and the press were present has caused Jacqueline Davies' employers to inform her of what has happened."

He said Ms Davies had then made contact with the High Court and told staff that she would return to the UK on Monday.

The legal proceedings followed a custody dispute between Ms Davies and her young daughter's father, Julian Brown, a 49-year-old gas engineer from Aldershot, Hampshire.

The courts have ruled that Mr Brown should have access to his daughter, but she was taken out of the country before that order could be enforced.

Following the hearing, Mr Brown said: "I'm delighted. I haven't seen Alice for nearly two years.

"I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that everything goes to plan and I'll see her next week."

Mr Brown had asked the judge not to impose jail terms on Mr and Mrs Davies and Ms Williams.

Ms Davies is due to appear at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in Birmingham on Tuesday.