Suffolk father attempted suicide after losing fight to care for daughter, judge told
PUBLISHED: 11:44 30 September 2017
A man attempted suicide after losing a court fight over the care of his daughter following the death of his estranged partner, a judge has been told.
Two Court of Appeal judges had ruled that the girl, now eight, should be brought up by her late mother’s best friend.
The youngster had moved to the home of that friend and her husband more than two years ago.
A High Court judge who recently reviewed care arrangements has now told how the man had tried to kill himself.
Mr Justice Cobb said the man’s new partner told how he had gone “downhill” and suffered “very bad periods of depression”.
The judge has revealed the suicide attempt in a written ruling after reviewing the case at a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London a few weeks ago.
He said the man lived in Suffolk and the girl in Cornwall.
Mr Justice Cobb said the man still wanted his daughter to live with him, and his new partner, and had asked for an order declaring the “precedence” of “biological kin” over “adoptive or fictive parents”.
But the judge said he had decided that the girl should stay with her late mother’s friend.
He said the man should continue to have regular contact with the youngster.
A family court judge had originally ruled that the little girl should live with her father following a private hearing in Truro, Cornwall.
But the girl’s mother’s friend persuaded Court of Appeal judges to overturn that ruling at a hearing in London in April 2015.
Barrister Clare Renton, who represented the friend, had told Court of Appeal judges that the man and the girl’s mother had separated in 2012.
She said relations between them had been “hostile”, and that the man had not seen his daughter between late 2012 and late 2014, describing him as a “remote” figure in the little girl’s life.
Ms Renton said the friend had been the youngster’s “secondary attachment figure”.
She said the mother, whose health had been deteriorating, had wanted her daughter to live with her friend.
The girl’s father had told appeal judges that he was “not at all” a “remote figure” and said she had a right to be brought up by him.