New Zealand grandmother sentenced for child abduction

A woman from Mosgiel in New Zealand has been sentenced to 12 month’s supervision after admitting the abduction of her two year-old granddaughter.

Forty-seven year old Yvonne Annelie Skeet took the child from Otago Farmers Market last month. The two year-old’s grandfather was operating a stall at the time.

The unnamed child was found with Skeet by police the following day at an address in nearby Dunedin, the New Zealand Herald reports.

The toddler is in the charge of New Zealand children’s welfare agency Child, Youth and Family and her grandfather is her guardian. Yvonne Skeet is the grandfather’s former wife but she has been ordered to have no contact with the child.

Sitting at Dunedin District Court, Judge O’Driscoll told Skeet that he accepted a psychiatric report that the abduction had been born of a desperation to see her grandchild. Nevertheless, the abduction had clearly been premeditated, he said, and Skeet had acted in “flagrant disregard” of the legal order that she not have contact.

The judge noted that the child’s grandfather had been left his feelings of guilt and anxiety, and had told his new partner that the situation was “every parent or guardian’s worst nightmare”.

They were, said Judge O’Driscoll, “understandably devastated to find out what had occurred”.

Skeet was told that she must undergo a year’s assessment by the Community Alcohol and Drug Service, as well as assessment by a probation officer. If she sought further contact with her granddaughter, she ran the risk of imprisonment the judge said.

Skeet’s defence counsel told the judge that she hoped to be allowed to see her granddaughter again eventually.

“She misses her dearly.”

Photo of Otago by Mr Bungle via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence

Marilyn Stowe

The senior partner at Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known divorce lawyers with clients throughout the country, in Europe, the Far East and the USA.

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