Mother loses appeal to prevent US extradition over alleged kidnapping of children

The Oxford Times: Eileen Clark with her sons Chandler, left, and Hayden Eileen Clark with her sons Chandler, left, and Hayden

AN AMERICAN mother-of-three is facing extradition after her latest legal challenge was thrown out of the High Court yesterday.

Eileen Clark, who lives in West Way, Botley, could now be forced to travel to the US to face charges of “international parental kidnapping” after she fled to Oxford with her children following her divorce 16 years ago.

She is alleged to have ille-gally removed the children, all now in their 20s, from their country following the breakdown of her unhappy marriage in the 1990s.

The 56-year-old pointed to a fear of flying and a history of acute anxiety in her fight to avoid being put on a trans-Atlantic plane.

Her lawyers said she had been living openly in Britain since 1998 and that her extradition now would be “oppressive”.

But in dismissing her last-ditch challenge, Lord Justice Treacy emphasised “the strong public interest in extradition between friendly nations”.

The ruling effectively means Mrs Clark could be extradited at any time, although she could still appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Rejecting arguments that her alleged crime was ‘trivial’, the judge added: “The removal of children from another jurisdiction without parental consent is a serious matter and recognised as such by our courts and foreign courts.”

Whilst accepting that Mrs Clark was not “a classic fugitive” from justice, he said that she had been “at the very best wilfully blind” to the charges and had “taken pains” not to alert US investigators to her presence in Britain.

The former aerobics trainer and model moved to Britain with her children Chandler, Hayden and Rebekah in December 1998.

Mrs Clark was arrested at her home in July 2010 .

As reported in the Oxford Mail, Westminster magistrates ruled in March last year that her extradition should go ahead.

She appealed, but that was quashed in the High Court.

Until her arrest in 2010 Mrs Clark, an American citizen, was on the FBI's “most wanted” list.

She is expected to have to face her ex-husband and her children’s father, John Clark, across a US court room.

Her lawyers claimed that her ex-husband had subjected her to domestic violence, leaving her a victim of post traumatic stress disorder.

Rejecting claims that her extradition had been too long delayed, the judge said the authorities in New Mexico, from where she is said to have removed the children in 1995, had only discovered her whereabouts in 2008 and had alerted the FBI.



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