Judge enlists press help to find missing girls

Posted: 17th January 2014

rcjIn a rare move, a family judge has enlisted the assistance of the press in the hunt for three missing girls who were spirited away by their parents on an unaccompanied flight to Pakistan following a social services investigation.

Ilyas and Mazeley Din had subjected three of their children, aged between 15 and four, to the lonesome journey to a country and relatives they did not know. The couple, from Preston, Lancashire, had ignored a High Court order to return the children to England and were eventually committed to prison after being found in ‘flagrant’ contempt of court.

In allowing press reporting of the case, Mr Justice Hayden said that publicity might assist in finding the girls. He said, "I am determined that these children will be returned; that is the very least that this Court can do for them. It is impossible to imagine how traumatic this experience will have been for these children and inconceivable that parents would be prepared to subject their own children to this.”

After coming to the attention of social services, the family had initially fled to Ireland before the children were put on a flight to Islamabad. The judge said that they had been ‘spirited away’ in a ‘quite brutal manner’ with the oldest girl given the task of looking after her two much younger siblings on the journey.

Everything possible had to be done to ensure the children’s safe return to England and the judge added, "I hope that, if the case were to receive some publicity locally, information might be provided as to where the children are.” Mr Din was serving a 12-month sentence for contempt and his wife a six-month term. The judge directed sequestration of the couple’s assets to be used to help pay the substantial legal costs of the case.