A FATHER who was thrown into a Zambian jail after claims he was framed for attempted abduction is suing his former partner for $100,000.
Lawyers acting on behalf of Ken Spooner have served a writ on Zanetta Nyendwa, the woman who aducted his children and took them to Zambia in October 2008.
Mr Spooner has been attempting to bring Devlan and Caelan, who were aged just four and two at the time of the abduction, home ever since.
Miss Nyendwa took them on an agreed family holiday in 2008 – and never returned.
Zambian authorities rejected the validity of an English High Court Order demanding the children be returned home, but have since awarded Mr Spooner custody of the boys pending an appeal from their mother.
In July 2010, Mr Spooner was arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit a felony amid allegations he conspired with a maid, Febby Siamasamu, to steal the passports of the boys from their mother.
The drawn out trial finally concluded in December of that year when Judge Fides Hamaundu, presiding at Lusaka Magistrates’ Court, acquitted both Mr Spooner and Miss Siamasamu.
A report in the Zambian Post said Judge Hamaundu had ‘doubts in her mind that Spooner and Siamasamu conspired to steal the passports for his children.’
She added that the fact the two passports were in Miss Nyendwa’s custody did not mean they belonged to her, and that there was no penalty for someone to get the British passports and use them to travel to the UK as they were using documents given to them by that country.
Doubts were also raised as to why Mr Spooner would steal the passports when he could simply have them replaced.
Dismissing the case, she said Miss Siamasamu ‘was brought into the picture so as to frame up a charge to implicate Spooner’.
The writ, issued last week, has been served on Miss Nyendwa, her mother Rosanna and the Zambian Attorney General for ‘the state funded malicious prosecution and false imprisonment in 2010’.
The $100,000 covers Mr Spooner’s legal fees, loss of earnings and other costs incurred during the trial. A hearing date has been set for October 16 – ironically exactly four years after Miss Nyendwa left England with the chidlren.
Mr Spooner said: “The 2010 judgement was highly critical of all the respondents.
“It should send a strong message that there is a price to pay for intimidation and false accusations.
“I am having to return to England this week, I need to raise some more funds to make it possible for my children to be able to return to England once all avenues for appeals have been exhausted. I am setting my sights on putting things into place for their homecoming now.
“It has got to the point where it is inevitable, but just a question of time. That time cannot come soon enough.”
Mr Spooner, who has spent more than £200,000 and been forced to move all his possessions into storage, is the subject of this newspaper’s Justice for Ken campaign urging the British government to intervene in the case.
So far they have refused to do so although proposals for a new law which would make it illegal for a parent to wrongfully retain a child in another country are being looked into.
A similar law was introduced in Australia earlier this year.