PARENTS

Mum Faces Extradition To US After She's Accused Of Kidnapping Her Children - 15 Years Ago

23/02/2012 17:35 | Updated 22 May 2015
Eileen Clark and her three childrenGeoff Pugh
A mother who left an unhappy marriage and moved to Britain from the US with her three children has been accused of 'kidnapping' them – 15 years on.

Eileen Clark, 54, has been put on the FBI's 'most wanted' list and now faces extradition to the United States to face charges, even though she has lived 'openly' in Britain since 1998.

Yesterday the High Court dismissed her appeal, meaning she could be put on a plane within weeks.

Eileen left the home she shared with her first husband John Clark in New Mexico in February 1995.

The marriage was dissolved in 1997, with both parents retaining legal custody. The former model, a US citizen, went to California to live with friends before moving to the Isle of Wight in 1998.

She married a Canadian national and has lived in Oxfordshire for more than eight years.

Her ex-husband has demanded she 'pays the price' for leaving the country with his children.

US prosecutors say they only discovered Eileen was living in Britain in 2008. She was arrested in July 2010 and faces three years in prison if convicted.

Her children Chandler, 24, Hayden, 22, and Rebekah, 19, are all university students in London and are bitterly opposed to their mother being sent for trial. Despite their age, all three were labelled 'missing children' and later 'endangered adults' by the US authorities.

When her mother was first arrested Rebekah said the case was 'absolutely ridiculous'.

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There are murderers all over the world and my mum is wanted by the FBI. It's the biggest joke I've heard in my life.

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Eileen's supporters say it is yet another example of how the 'unfair' Extradition Act is being misused. They claim Eileen was originally wanted for the lower level crime of 'custodial interference', which is not a criminal offence in this country.

Only later did prosecutors issue a warrant for the more serious charge of 'international parental kidnapping'.

At her appeal Mr Justice Underhill questioned the assertion that Eileen had lived 'openly' in the UK since 1998. The judge said that, while she may have retained her own name, "She did not tell anyone in the US where she was."

He said: "We accept there will be hardship for the appellant if she is returned to the US to stand trial, but we do not believe that hardship can properly be characterised as oppressive." What do you think? What purpose will be served from separating her from her children?

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