Sudbury woman found her abducted children on Facebook

Medhat Solliman was jailed for three years for snatching his children and taking them to Egypt for eight years

A woman who found her abducted children on Facebook has welcomed the jailing last week of their father who took them.

Medhat Solliman, who gave his address as Hazel Close, Colindale, was sentenced to three years for kidnapping his three children, who were just four, six and seven when they were taken from their mother, Edith Edgar, in 2002.

Harrow Crown Court heard how Ms Edgar, of Harrow Road, Sudbury, and Solliman had been going through the family courts which were deciding on the custody arrangements, when she returned home one evening to find her children missing.

Distraught, she had desperately rung round police stations and hospitals to try and track them down.

It later emerged that Solliman, travelling under the name of Hassan, had taken them to his home country of Egypt.

It was only after she received a Facebook friend request from one of her eldest daughter’s friends last year, which allowed Ms Edgar to view a picture of her child on the social networking site, that led her to find them back living in London – just a few miles from their childhood home in Kenton.

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Sentencing, His Honour Judge Alan Greenwood said: “The mother is deprived of that child’s love, and the child in turn is deprived of the love of its mother for a very long time.

“Words cannot describe the agony that the mother must have suffered not knowing where her children are, taking them without her being consulted.

“She has suffered greatly at your hands and I’m sure that you knew she would.”

He went on: “The family courts were considering their position, and family courts are entrusted with the responsibility of making these very difficult decisions about children. It is not regarded by them as a competition between parents.

“What you did is frustrate the entire process and that is the reason the criminal courts have to take stern action.

“The courts must deter any parent from frustrating the process by unilaterally taking a decision to take the child away so that it cannot make its decision.”

Solliman, who sat motionless in the dock throughout the sentencing, had pleaded guilty to three counts of abduction. He was sentenced to three years in prison and must serve a minimum of 18 months.

Speaking after the sentence, Edith Edgar said: “I am happy about the verdict. I am hoping it will give all the other mothers and fathers who are going through the same thing, hope that abduction cases will be taken seriously. And that it will act as a deterrent against other parents following this same course.”