A WOMAN who fled the country to avoid her newborn child being taken into care has been told she is safe to be a parent after all.
Fran Lyon flew to Continental Europe last month to escape a Northumberland County Council social services ruling that her child would be taken from her 10 minutes after birth.
But now a psychologist’s report to the council has said Ms Lyon, 22, would not be a threat to her baby, who will be named Molly, and that she should be allowed to keep the child if she returns.
The U-turn comes after a previous report said Ms Lyon should not be allowed to keep her baby because psychiatric problems she suffered as a teenager made her a threat to the child.
Speaking exclusively to The Journal, Ms Lyon, who used to live in Hexham, said that despite the new report, she had no intention of returning to the UK.
She said: “It is basically as close as you will get to them saying ‘sorry, we messed up’, as they have realised they wouldn’t stand a chance if it was challenged in court.
“I hit the roof when I found out. Because of them I have lost everything – my job, my home and I have sold everything.
“I literally own what I can carry. Apart from Molly, I have got nothing at all.”
The original decision to remove the child was taken after a paediatrician Miss Lyon had never met said she was likely to suffer from a condition that would cause her to harm her child.
Despite other doctors saying she was fit to be a parent, social services refused to back down – until the latest recommendation was made by a London expert.
Miss Lyon said she was now happily settled in a flat and had an excellent midwife.
“They have said that if I go back, I would be allowed to go into a mother and baby unit with Molly and that I would be allowed to breast feed. But there is absolutely no way I am coming back. Why on Earth should I?
“You think of the damage that they could have done to Molly if she had arrived before I made my decision to leave.
“They simply shouldn’t be allowed to put somebody through this and then at the last minute turn round and say they were wrong.
“They have destroyed so much, I am not going to allow them to destroy any more.”
Molly is due to be born early next month, and Ms Lyon said she had spent much of the past few days shopping and preparing for the new arrival.
A Northumberland County Council spokesman said: “Unfortunately, we are unable to comment on individual cases. However, we can say that child protection recommendations are always subject to review.
“We would never put a child protection plan in place without current and appropriate grounds for serious concerns, and we are concerned that Ms Lyon’s whereabouts are still unknown.
“We urge Ms Lyon to urgently get in touch with us, or a medical adviser, so we can be sure she and her unborn child receive the help and support that they need.
“It is crucial that the authorities wherever she is have relevant information from us to do this.”
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August 27, 2007: Ms Lyon – then five months pregnant – tells The Journal she is considering an abortion to prevent her child going into care.
September 8: She vows not to terminate her pregnancy but will fight to keep her daughter.
September 13: Ms Lyon is not allowed to attend the meeting deciding the fate of her unborn child. She faces an anxious wait for a letter from the Northumberland County Council’s safeguarding children panel telling her if the appeal has been upheld.
October 4: Ms Lyon says she is facing losing her home as a result of the battle to keep her child. The time spent attending meetings, seeing doctors and filling in legal forms means she is struggling to work enough to pay the rent.
November 10: She leaves her home in St Hilda’s Road, Hexham, after receiving a birth plan for her child from Northumberland social services. She says she is being hounded out of the region by council bosses.
November 26, 2007: Ms Lyon flees to Continental Europe to avoid the social workers planning to take her baby.