A HIGH COURT judge in the UK has said that four-year-old Elliana Shand who went missing with her mother, Jessica Richards, has been found safe and well by police in Spain.
In December the judge, Mr Justice Hayden, said there was evidence to suggest that Elliana and her mother were in Alicante on Spain’s Costa Blanca.
He appealed for help from Britons living or spending the Christmas holiday in Spain to locate them and authorised the release of photographs of the little girl and has urged expats or tourists to raise the alarm if they thought they had any information.
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At the time, speaking exclusively to the Euro Weekly News, Elliana’s grandfather, estate agent Sean Doyle, 51, whose son Craig is Elliana’s father made an appeal to our readers and Facebook followers.
“Please help us find her for Christmas. We believe she’s in and around Alicante.”
“We just want them both found safe and sound.”
“We do miss our granddaughter and we want her mum Jessica to get the help she needs. They have been gone seven months and we just want them both in a safe environment.”
At today’s hearing, the judge praised the work of British and Spanish police and Foreign Office staff and said plans were in place to return Elliana to England within the next few days.
He also praised Elliana’s grandparents, Sean and Eileen Doyle, for the efforts they had made to trace the girl.
After the hearing, Mrs Doyle said they were ‘over the moon’.
Four-year-old Elliana has been at the centre of private family court litigation after her mother disappeared from their London home during the summer after social services staff at Barking and Dagenham Council raised concern about the youngster’s welfare.