Portuguese couple arrested in UK for conspiring to abduct own children from social care

By Carrie-Marie Bratley, in News · 21-03-2014 15:58:00 · 8 Comments
Portuguese couple arrested in UK for conspiring to abduct own children from social care

A Portuguese couple living in the UK has been arrested along with two other people for conspiring to abduct “a number of identified children” – believed to be their own children who were placed in UK state care last year – after accusing the British authorities of unjustly taking them. Portugal’s State Secretary for Communities is considering taking action.

Carla and José Pedro, who have been living in Grantham, Lincolnshire, for the past 11 years, had their five children removed from them by local social services last April.

The move came after their eldest son, who suffers from learning disabilities and hyperactivity, told a social worker assigned to help him at school that his father had hit him.

Originally from Almeirim near Santarém, Central Portugal, the couple claims they were told on the day the authorities came to take the children that they were being placed into care for just 72 hours, but the youngsters were never brought home.

A long court battle ensued in which the couple had to face social services in the British legal system.

Eight months later, in December, a family court ruled that the two youngest children, aged three and five, should be put up for adoption, while the older three, aged 12 to 14, were to be placed in foster care until they turn 21.

This morning (Friday, 21 March) reports emerged that a couple believed to be Carla and José Pedro had been arrested by Lincolnshire police for “conspiring to abduct” the children.

They were arrested in a police sting named Operation Shamrock.

In an statement sent to The Portugal News, a spokesperson for the force confirmed: “At approximately 7am today four people were arrested at two separate addresses in Grantham on suspicion of conspiring to abduct a number of identified children who are currently in the care of the local authority.

“The four people arrested are a husband and wife aged 43 years and 36 years respectively from Grantham, a female aged 35 years from Grantham and a 43-year-old man from Grantham. The four are currently in custody at Grantham Police Station where they will be interviewed.”

DS Claire Hammond said: “The children concerned are related to a number of the people in custody; they are unharmed and remain in the care of the local authority who we are working closely with on this investigation.”

In comments to Portuguese newspaper Público, the State Secretary for Communities José Cesário said: “Even though British law is being carried out”, the case is becoming in need of “an attentive and meticulous legal analysis.”

Only then will Portugal decide if it should “take action with the British authorities.”

And, he added, “according to what we know of the case, the reasons that the Family Court invoked are not very solid.”

The five children were taken by social services from the family home on 23 April; the eldest boy and seven-year-old girl are living with separate families but in the same town, in Skegness. The eldest girl, who is 12, is living with a foster family in Stanford with the two youngest children who have been put up for adoption.

Their mother, Carla Pedro, says she is authorised to see them for an hour, once every two months.

Speaking to Portuguese newspaper Público, Carla Pedro says that when she does see her children “they cry and say they want to come home.”

Mrs. Pedro claims her children were taken from her and her husband due to “a future risk of emotional damage.”

“Smacking children is not allowed in the UK but we never smacked them. We punished them. Either way, my son later said that he had lied when he accused his father of hitting him” because days earlier the couple had grounded the teen after a phone call from the school headmaster because of his bad behaviour.

A blog page (www.pedrofamily.wordpress.com) set up to fight the Pedro’s corner by a representative for the family accuses Lincoln County Council of having “snatched” the five children without paperwork.

Mrs. Pedro also maintains the children were taken from their home without any formal paperwork.

The family is being represented by Sabine Kurjo McNeill, who claims to work for the voluntary public interest advocacy association McKenzie Friends, which assists a litigant in person in a common law court.

Ms. McNeill has posted extensively about the case on the Pedro Family blog. A post from earlier today seemed to confirm it was in fact Mrs. and Mr. Pedro who had been arrested.

“Phone call from Grantham Police Station at 8.51am: the Pedros are arrested for abducting their four children”, she wrote.

Ms. McNeill also offered to represent the Pedros following their arrest.

McKenzie Friends do not need to be legally qualified; litigants in person are entitled to have assistance, lay or professional, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

As a result of the case a petition was created – the ‘Abolish Adoptions without Parental Consent’ petition, which gathered 3,397 signatures – and was handed to European Parliament in Brussels earlier this week, on Wednesday 19 March, along with around a dozen similar complaints from families of various nationalities.

According to the Pedro Family blog page, the couple moved to the UK from Portugal with their then two children in 2003 after José lost his job as forklift driver due to the general economic downturn. In Grantham, he had a job as a driver but later became unemployed.

A spokesperson for child services at Lincolnshire County Council told The Portugal News that he was aware of the case but due to confidentiality restrictions he could not give details nor comment on individual cases.


I live in England more than half of my life. I'm pregnant in my 10th week. I do not have British passport I rather stick to my original one which is GERMAN. well after I got organ I started doing research on Meternity units and how everything works in the UK. I typed in Google "why does Antenatal Clinic ignore my husband while we're going scan" as they never talked to him it was always just me. Well things came out such as in the UK person who has parental rights is the mother unless the mother allow name of the father on birth certificate. There was more such as after the birth of the baby in the UK mother isn't the only parents of the baby, the most powerful parent of the baby is the State then the mother and sometimes the father.

I was surprised the government in the UK doesn't promote family life for both parents but they rather through since woman get pregnant encourage woman by ignoring the father to become single mother.

I started googling more and found name Ian Joseph and lots info about child trafficking in the UK that's happening on mass scale and I seriously got scared.

Because I live in England for long time I do know nhs is disgrace esp it's care pathways killing patients to free bed and save money.

I knew England is country of single mothers even I never discovered why so many women in England end with children from different males living in some dumb council flat.

Digging more I found sometimes councils and their SS expect and force woman to live without father of the baby. I found before woman get council flat, SS will tell her who can live there and if she brake the order what consequences she will face.

I found John Hammond I found videos on YouTube and how baby snatching by the SS is carried out.

I'm German and always will be. I'm not proud of what Nazi Germany did in Europe. German are very different place today and no one has the right to destroy family. No doctor has the right to kill patient to save hospital bed. And if doc make patient die he faces criminal charges.
If social worker make false paperwork he face jail.

Because of I studied english history I know the way english people lived in the past even 60 years ago they were poorer but they also were happier.

Today England has adopted many of Hitlers ideas and England breached international human right laws and England with its rubbish BBC tries to teach third world countries how to live. This is very depressing country.

After my findings I made decision of not giving birth to my child in the UK even everything I have my own home and job is in England I will go back to Germany give birth the and bring up my child there. England isn't safe place for people wanting family.

by Carol from UK on 24-01-2015 07:20:00

The worse ever nasty social services I have ever seen in my life is the borough of Brent in London. They hurt a lot of family including my own family. They snatch my own 8 month baby from his own mother by using a lot of tricks and the worse part they were supported by the police in kilburn Brent. They told my wife they only want her to come with them to police station for a few minute. But as soon as they reach the police station in kilburn Brent ,they snatch the baby from her and threw her in the street leaving crying coz she doesn't speak English. Only speaks Spanish. But the strange thing that when we went court with them the judge at the family court in kilburn found no reason for the social services to keep the child. Then the judge ordered the child to return to the mother. Especially when the doctors examination proved that the child had no abuse involved. Or a physical assault on the child . Then the judge asked us to wait till she goes inside to make the paper work official so the child goes to his mum. Then we went outside to wait for the document to be issued by the judge to take the child But the social services workers were so upset then they started to make a lot of phone calls. Then as soon as we went back to court room . We got surprised by the judge new decision. She said sorry something came up. And I had to change my decision. I decided the child will bekept by the Brent social services. Then we were shocked. The mother crying our solicitor start asking the judge about what made the judge instead of issuing a document as she promised us to take the child back. She reverse the judgement. Then we realised that we are losing our 8 month baby boy badr. Then they give the child to a black African women. Then they allowed us to start visiting the child at the Center in Wembley social services. Then we realised that the child started to lose weight regularly. His mother complaining about the health of the her baby. But no one was listening to her even the judge seen the photos and she admitted that the child with the parent was very healthy but with the social services and the black African women taking care of him he lost so much weight he doesn't smile anymore. Even when we visit him he looks s sad and weak his not him anymore. Event high we found out that the social worker called (kadie) who workers for Brent social services in Wembley had visited my wife three times at the hospital one day after the baby were born. She came to my wife asking her a question pretending that she was a nurse in fact she was a social worker planning taking the baby fro his mum. Eventually after a carefull investigation. I realised that the social services in Brent targeting a foreign families especially the ones who doesn't speak English to snatch babies from their parent. They are not helping family as it seems in fact they are doing it as a business to make money and they sell the children's to the families who pays more money. The government doesn't know this truth about Brent social services but they will find out but after a lot of families been destroyed. But our case end up with happiness after the mother snatched Back the child from Brent and runaway with her child to Spain leaving no chance for them to find out where is she coz from Spain she moved out to Mexico Where she's living with her child very happy. Imaging they snatch the child from the mother without any further notice or paper work or giving her a hand to help her they just snatch the boy and throwing the mother outside kilburn police station. What kind of human right is this. The child wasn't even living in uk all the eight month spent it with his mum in Spain. But because she doesn't speak English they done what they done to her. Am advising any foreign family to move out of Brent borough. Before it's too late before losing their children's. A lot of families crying but the not heard. And Brent social services enjoying the business the blood sucker.

by Mr Mostafa rouhi from UK on 07-09-2014 03:07:00

Has social service's duty to the best interest of the child awry.
I have conflicting and contradicting NHS partner reports regarding the ability of a child's speech. Social serverices are responsible for providing legitimate, honest and unbias reports to the court. In my case, the misrepresentation of evidence by social severvices involves my concerns for my child's therapy requirements.

Social says mild resolved issue,,,,, NHS partner says intensive therapy now required. This is after I was subjected to an unnecessary prolonged psychiatric assessment for my concerns. The cat is out of the bag, the Special Educational Needs are now acknowledged, but according to the S.E.N.D.Act of 1996 this should have happened two years ago. Lost time for my family.

Has some type of misrepresentation of evidence by social services also occured with this family?
Anything I can do to help?

by cep from UK on 07-06-2014 11:12:00

Both my mum and dad smaked me as a kid, as a result I suffer from a condition called RESPECT FOR OTHER PEOPLE. Hope this was helpful in anyway...

by Joana Fernandes from Madeira on 30-04-2014 04:43:00

Thank You for this excellent article and the remarkable comment, Maria!

We've just put together a 'letter before claim' to question the lawfulness of the search warrant, the arrest and the bail conditions, besides the confiscation of computer, tablets, phones and travel documents.

May the good guys win!!!

by Sabine K McNeill from UK on 29-04-2014 02:22:00

What a crazy world, where we have to fight the governments and the law just to be with our own children. The UK has gone insane.

by Erik P from Lisbon on 26-03-2014 08:35:00

That is a disgrace....never take away thises children....
ADOPTION that wrong...social services should help famlies in trouble never take away childrem from parents...is about that concerns me ....adoption is wrong

by santos from UK on 24-03-2014 01:50:00

I once attended an "adoption information day" organised by all the adoption agencies and the BBC in Wales (Swansea). Here's the interesting part: I would have in many ways been their ideal candidate, for I wished to adopt older children, namely boys - statistically the most difficult to place, yet all agencies and social workers I spoke to had only one concern: that as a non-British national I would take the children out of the country after adoption. At every single stand I was immediately greeted with "there are no babies available for adoption and few toddlers", before I could even open my mouth to tell them what kind of child I'l like to give a home to.

The only adoption organisation willing to consider me was Bernardos. Why? Because they deal mostly in children nobody else wants to adopt, kids with disabilities, kids taken away from immigrants, severely traumatised kids and multiple siblings etc. I am therefore quite convinced that the allegations are true, for my adoption process would have involved the German embassy in London. They would have had some input in confirming my credentials etc and issuing the children with a dual nationality passport...this in turn would undoubtedly have alerted German authorities to any wrong doings on the part of UK officials and the adoption agencies. I was greeted with barely concealed hostility at every stand except for B.'s. A rather strange way to woo a potential adoptive parent...

by Maria Thermann from UK on 22-03-2014 11:12:00
Interactive Topics, send us your comments/opinion on this article.

Please note that The Portugal News may use selected comments in the printed edition of the newspaper.