11/11/2014 11:47 GMT | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Dad Jailed For Six And A Half Years For Kidnapping Baby Daughter


A dad who kidnapped his baby daughter from Britain has been jailed for six and a half years.

A court heard that Maher Belaid, 34, took three-month-old Talia to Libya after his marriage to her mother broke down.

He abducted the baby while his wife was on a shopping trip - and she has not seen her for more than two years.

The judge had told Belaid to return Talia, now 27 months, to Britain to be with her mother. But the court heard he has refused to co-operate with the British Embassy.

Belaid fled to his North African home with Talia in November two years ago after his marriage in Britain broke down.

He has refused to return the girl, who is being looked after by Belaid's mother in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

The marriage - which allowed immigrant Belaid to stay in Britain - broke down after the birth of Talia.

But the judge heard there was 'no prospect' of her being returned to her mother Malgorzata, 30, in Barry, South Wales.

Belaid was arrested after returning to Britain without his daughter.

Prosecutor Matthew Cobbe said Belaid whisked his daughter to Heathrow airport for a flight to Libya while his wife was shopping in the centre of Cardiff.

Mr Cobbe said: "He phoned her in the evening and told her he was in Tunisia and that Talia was safe.

"He said he had done nothing wrong, he was teaching her a lesson, and he could take Talia when he wanted and it was no problem for him."

Newport Crown Court heard that Talia's mother would see her for just a few minutes at a time on internet phone service Skype.

The hearing was told that she was tormented by the little girl calling Belaid's mother 'mum'.

Mr Cobbe said: "The defendant's cruelty has deprived the mother of her child and has deprived his child of the love she could have received from her mother.

"The emotional hardship she has endured is plain to see and is heartbreaking."

Belaid, from Roath, Cardiff, who admitted abduction, was jailed for six and a half years.

Judge Patrick Harrington QC said he was restricted by sentencing powers otherwise he would have given Belaid a 'far far longer' term behind bars for his 'unspeakable cruelty'.

The judge told Belaid: "This is a harrowing case. You put into effect a cruel deception and the torment you have inflicted on a very nice girl is simply beyond measure.

"Rarely have I seen a case of such unspeakable cruelty."