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Coventry Evening Telegraph

Dad's 1m fight for his child

Coventry Evening Telegraph, City News, U.K. by Liz Hazelton, July 27, 2004

A Coventry father claims he has lost 1 million in a four-year battle over
access to his young son following the break-up of his marriage.

The 42-year-old former company boss says he has spent half a million on the legal battle and given up share options worth another half million.

And after quitting his job to continue the fight, he now claims he risks losing his 500,000 home and has run up debts of 100,000.

He split from his wife four years ago when she left him for a work colleague, taking their 11-month-old baby with her. The mother and son now live abroad.

The marriage break-up was just the beginning of a nightmare saga which last week saw the father - who cannot be named because his son must not be identified - dumping the boy's toys on the steps of the High Court in London in protest at the ruling on July 14, when Mr Justice Kirkwood told the former computer company boss he should have access just one weekend in every two months - he had previously been seeing him every school holiday.

The angry father said: "I've almost given up - when the High Court made this latest decision I felt as if I was no longer a parent."

"One minute you have got a loving family, the next you can't see your child. I had a call from him last week - it lasted about 15 seconds - he was just crying. He said daddy, why aren't you with me?"

"It's cost me everything - when the last court decision came through I just felt like giving up.

"The first year I used lawyers and barristers - after that Ive been fighting it myself and gave up my job to dedicate all my time to seeing my son."

"I've spent 500,000, given up share options of 500,000 and also risked losing my 500,000 house."

The former businessman was born and brought up in Coventry, attending King Henry VIII School and then going on to Coventry Polytechnic (now university)

And after speaking to his son, he has vowed to fight on and plans to appeal against the latest ruling on the grounds that no reason was given by the court for such limited access.