A couple who were accused of abandoning their two-year-old while allegedly drunk in Portugal went on TV this morning to talk about their relief at finally being reunited with their daughter.
Stephen Street and Colette McPartland told ITV's Daybreak they were hurt and angry at 'lies' about their behaviour after social workers took toddler Scarlett into care, claiming she was left to play by herself by a busy road.
The couple have now been given Scarlett back to them after '10 days of hell'.
Colette, from Middlesbrough, said: "Those 10 days without her were the hardest time in my life, it was hell. It's such a relief to have her back.
"Luckily she's a very easy-going, adaptable girl but she has been affected by this. "She cries when I leave the room, she's started to need a dummy again, but I think she's going to be her old self again soon.
I had drunk two glasses of wine as I'm four months' pregnant and the doctor said it was no risk to my baby. I was not drunk and I was perfectly capable of taking care of my daughter.
"We don't know why the police got involved. There were lots of children running around and she was never more than a few feet away from us.
"We were watching her carefully all the time like any parent would. She was never abandoned, she was never far away from us, she was never almost hit by a car, she wasn't near a busy road... almost everything that was originally reported is completely untrue.
"We are very shocked and very hurt by all the things that have been said. We still cannot believe what has happened. I'm feeling very fragile right now."
The couple were accused of leaving the girl to play on her own in the village of Carcavelos, near Lisbon, while they drank white wine at a bar 100 yards away.
Eyewitnesses said they were staggering around. Officers claimed the 'clearly drunk' couple showed little concern for Scarlett, could not give them the child's full name and became verbally abusive when questioned.
The owner of the bar claimed that, after the girl was taken into care, Stephen returned later and began shouting.
The couple, who are both teachers, moved to Portugal about five years ago.
Colette, 38, said: "We are not sure if we will stay here but it's too soon to make a decision.
"We were very happy here with lots of friends and jobs we enjoy but at the moment I don't feel safe. I'm scared to leave the house as I'm scared it could happen again."
Stephen, 42, said: "It's not a nice feeling to know your children could be virtually kidnapped by armed people. We were just having a very quiet family evening together and minding our own business.
"We have been made to feel like bad parents by the media but social services have completely exonerated us.
"It should be very interesting for the Portuguese police to hear that as there has been no apology."
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