Kidnap boys return to dad

Ken Spooner with children Devlan and Caelan before the abduction
Ken Spooner with children Devlan and Caelan before the abduction

TWO curly-haired little boys who were abducted to a country five thousand miles away could finally be on their way home to Milton Keynes within a week.

Devlan and Caelan Spooner have been the subject of a massive three-year court battle by their father Ken Spooner after their Zambian mother kidnapped them illegally...

The fight for the devoted Great Linford dad to be reunited with his boys was backed by hundreds of Citizen readers, who signed a Justice for Ken petition urging the British Government to recognise his plight.

Last week a Zambian judge granted Ken custody of Devlan, six, and four-year-old Caelan, refusing an application from their mother, his former partner Zanetta Nyendwa.

Mrs Justice Elita Mwikisa stated: ‘I find it is in the best interest of the children as British Citizens to be living in Britain where they will have an opportunity to be with their father.’

She said Ken had ‘ably demonstrated’ that he was capable of taking care of the children both emotionally and financially.

At the weekend a jubilant Ken flew to Zambia – only to be met with another twist in the battle he describes as “the most turbulent emotional roller coaster ride ever.”

On Monday Ms Nyendwa lodged a request for an appeal and refused to hand over the boys.

“It’s another setback, but it is one for which I was prepared. It’s another court battle I may have to fight but I’m still confident I will win and eventually bring my children home where they belong,” Ken told the Citizen on Tuesday.

The Supreme Court will spend the next few days deciding whether the children’s mother should be granted the right to appeal. If she is, the process could take six months or even a year to complete.

Said Ken: “I am hoping the appeal will be refused because the judgement was so clear about the fact that the children should come back with me to Britain.

“If it is refused, then we will be on our way back to Milton Keynes as soon as possible”.”

Ken and Zanetta lived together in Milton Keynes for four years before they broke up in early 2008, agreeing the children should remain with their father.

In October 2008 Zanetta asked to take them on holiday to stay with her family in Zambia for two weeks.

When she failed to return the boys, the British courts issued an order, ruling the pair were wards of the English court and should come back immediately.

Ken’s subsequent battle to get justice done has cost him £200,000 in legal fees and constant flights to Zambia, where he has only been allowed to see his sons a handful of times.

“It has consumed every waking hour,” he admitted. “ All I want is for my children to be back in their own country where they can have a balanced, decent upbringing and a good education at the local school.

“I am perfectly willing for them to stay in contact with their mother and she could visit whenever she wishes.”

Zanetta, through the Zambian press, has defended her right to keep the boys. She told the Zambian Post: “I am a Zambian Citizen and my children belong here in Zambia.... they don’t have to return to England.”

As the Citizen went to press, Ken was still hoping to see his sons.

“I have spoken to them on the phone. Devlan was excited to talk to me but Caelan asked who I was. When I said I was his daddy, he said: ‘I don’t have a daddy’”.

“It broke my heart . He’s obviously been told that– and that’s why I will never give up fighting.”