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English: Coat of arms of Portugal Español: Esc...

English: Coat of arms of Portugal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the 6-page letter that the Pedros received in response to their Letter before Claim. In bullet points:

The Pedros challenge

  • the procedures for organising contact with the children;
  • the procedures for reuniting the family;
  • the legitimisation for having care of the children;
  • the duty of care to safeguard the children.

The Council responds:

  • your claim is without merit;
  • your challenges are misconceived;
  • conditions of contact are inarguable.


  • we know from Mr R d S that you planned to abduct your five children [the Police charge said 3 of theirs plus somebody else’s];
  • he was previously involved in an abduction;
  • you have links with him;
  • you also have links with a ‘campaigning group’ against forced adoption whose policy is advising abduction;
  • your commitment to return to the children to Portugal is known.

In summary, as my late husband used to say: criminals try to get away with anything! So far they have succeeded! But as the internet comes to the rescue: 

And then this letter from investigative journalist Natasha Donn to the Portuguese authorities:

Dear Mr Ambassador de Vallera, Dr Carlos Sousa Amaro and everyone else included in this mail,

Família portuguesa “Pedro”, de Grantham, Lincolnshire

I have been covering this story for our newspaper for some weeks now – not because it has any instant connection with the Algarve, but because it is a truly horrific scenario affecting Portuguese immigrants and their innocent children caught up in a system they do not understand.

The fact that an entire family of five children has been split up over unfounded allegations that the father hit one child is bad enough, but when you scratch under the surface and discover that this is a scandal of immense proportions, affecting thousands of families throughout Britain, you realise it is the kind of situation that needs as much exposure as it can find.

As a Portuguese-based paper, however, our concern can only focus on the Portuguese involved – and therefore we have been following this, and hoping that the Portuguese authorities in UK would at least secure the children’s return to an institution in Portugal.

This is what we understood would be happening after the meeting between social attaché José António Galaz, consul general of Manchester Dr Carlos Sousa Amaro and Lincolnshire Social Services on April 17 this year – but still the Pedro family remains in tatters – desperately unhappy children wanting to return to their parents, and devastated parents trying every means they can to be reunited with their children.

I am writing to you with the enclosed letter from Lincolnshire Social Services below, as it shows quite clearly that the British authorities have no intention of reuniting the Pedros with their children (see page 2, para. 4).

How can this be possible, after the agreements reached on April 17?

To be honest, as a newspaper we are not expecting full and frank replies to every question in  this case – but we are asking for assurance that you, the Portuguese authorities in Britain – the only real hope for this immigrant family  – are going ensure that the children are kept together (as we understood the plan was, as of April 17) and released from the clutches of the British authorities, to be turned over to social services in Portugal.

This is the very least we should ask.

Can you assure me (as a journalist for The Resident newspaper in Portugal) that the Portuguese authorities are doing everything they can to release these children from the (dubious) care of Lincolnshire Social Services, and transfer them to the care of Portuguese counterparts in Portugal?

I understand, for instance, from Luís Villas-Boas of the Refúgio de Aboim Ascenção in Faro, that his children’s home is more than willing to take the Pedro children pending all the diligences that would need to follow before the family is considered fit and ready to be reunited.

In other words, the children want to return to their parents, the parents want their children back – and there is a Portuguese children’s home ready to step in and provide care while the situation is dealt with and decided upon.

I think this is the most important issue. It is certainly the issue that will concern our readers – the majority of whom are British and aware how treatment in these cases differs, depending on social status and origin.

For instance, we had a case not long ago where a British couple were found ‘drunk in charge’ of their baby (having apparently thrown it into a swimming pool, and staggered around with it in their arms, falling over and causing injuries to the little girl) – and yet they were reunited with their child and sent on their way within a matter of days of their indiscretion.

The Pedros have been paying for an indiscretion that never happened for almost 15 long and miserable months. They have been arrested, grilled in a police station, stripped of their personal belongings and then informed that they will never again get custody of their children (see page 2 of the attached letter from Lincolnshire Social Services).

The Pedros don’t even know where their youngest children are being kept. In fact, they are terrified that the little ones are being put up for adoption and then there will be nothing further they can do.

I would therefore be very grateful for your replies to this mail. The scenario beggars belief, and I will not be able to accept that you ‘cannot speak about these matters’. These matters are being spoken about – and written about – and it is time people knew the truth about where the families involved stood.

So, please, just let me know that you are moving heaven and earth to help the Pedro family, and all the other Portuguese families caught up in this scandal.

I very much appreciate your understanding, and hope to hear back from you at your very earliest convenience.

Yours faithfully,

Natasha Donn

Some of the stories we have written on the Pedro’s case, and others involving Portuguese nationals in UK