Girl abducted by schizophrenic mother ‘has been abroad at least three times’

UK News | Published:

Elliana Shand’s grandfather has appealed for public help finding the youngster and her mother.

Jessica Richards and her daughter Elliana Shand (Sean Doyle/PA)

A girl thought to have been abducted by her schizophrenic mother in breach of a judge’s order after social workers raised concerns has travelled to at least three different countries since vanishing about six months ago, evidence shows.

Three-year-old Elliana Shand, who has been at the centre of private family court litigation, and her mother Jessica Richards, 26, disappeared from their London home during the summer after social services staff at Barking and Dagenham Council intervened.

A judge, who is overseeing Elliana’s case at hearings in the Family Division of the High Court, and the little girl’s grandfather Sean Doyle, have appealed for public help finding the youngster and her mother.

Mr Justice Hayden has also outlined evidence gathered about Elliana’s life in the last few months in a written ruling on the case.

In a written ruling overview of the case published on a legal website, the judge says evidence shows Elliana had travelled abroad with her mother’s mother, Sharon Shand, since going missing.

Elliana and her grandmother had flown to Jamaica in mid-May, then on to the United States to visit friends, before flying back to London via Sweden in September, he says.

The judge has also been told Elliana, who turns four on Tuesday, might have been to Barcelona and Alicante in Spain too.


Both Mr Justice Hayden and Mr Doyle, 51, have urged anyone with any information about Elliana to call police as a matter of urgency.

The judge says Elliana’s mother could be “in the grip of auditory hallucinations” and might pose a “very real risk” to the little girl.

Mr Doyle, a Liverpool fan who campaigns for victims of the Hillsborough disaster, thinks Elliana and her mother, who were living in the Barking area of east London, may now be in or around London.

“Please think if you have seen them,” said Mr Doyle, whose son Craig, 29, of Southend, Essex, is Elliana’s father and is separated from her mother.

“They both need to be found as a matter of urgency.”

Mr Doyle, who was born in Liverpool but now lives in the Wembley area of London, added: “This is about Jessica getting the help she needs and Elliana getting a stable home while her mum gets better.”

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