Scottish teenage mother ordered to return to Malta after abducting child from father

A judge in Scotland has ordered a woman to return to Malta with her baby son after abducting the child from his father

A Scottish judge ruled the teenage woman had abducted her son when she left Malta last December
A Scottish judge ruled the teenage woman had abducted her son when she left Malta last December

A senior Scottish judge has ordered a mother to break the UK’s lockdown and fly to Malta with her baby son, after ruling that she had abducted him.

Leigha Collins, 18, had returned home to Scotland after her relationship with the Maltese father of her 11-month-old son broke down, taking the baby and her other son with her.

In stories and interviews she gave to the UK press, Collins had accused Kyle Borg, 19, of being violent towards her and neglectful towards the child.

Collins met Borg after she moved to Malta when her parents opened a bar in St Paul’s Bay, three years ago.

The young woman, who also has an older son, aged two, told Scottish newspapers that Borg had said he’d treat her son as his own. “And when I became pregnant with his baby he agreed to come to Scotland so we could begin a new life as a family,” reported the Sunday Post.

Her parents later closed their bar and returned to Fife, accompanied by the young couple. Collins told the court that Borg had become homesick and had persuaded her to return with him to Malta, where their relationship eventually hit the rocks.

But Collins fled home to Scotland after she accused Borg of assaulting her in their shared Birkirkara flat last December, calling the police after locking herself on the property’s balcony. Collins is understood to have claimed that the police had taken her statement but had allowed Borg to be present in the room at the same time.

Judge accuses Collins of ‘duplicity’

Borg’s lawyer, Robert Thake, pointed out that in a sworn affidavit made by Collins to the Scottish court, she had made no mention of a single episode of domestic violence, referring only to verbal abuse.

Borg was depicted by Collins as a recreational marijuana user, but he had disproved this, showing that the drug had been medically prescribed to him.

In his ruling, Lord Brailsford rejected the young woman’s account, accusing Collins of “duplicity” and ordering the child to be returned to Malta.

Thake said that he had informed Collins’ lawyers that, in view of the COVID-19 crisis, Borg had no objection to her returning to Malta at a later stage.

He explained that the young couple had started dating when Collins was already pregnant with her first child. “Borg’s parents looked after this child as if he were their own,” the lawyer added.

“She is also claiming maltreatment by his family, but on 1 September, 2019, three months before she left the country, she made Kyle’s parents the godparents of her first child.”

In her affidavit, the young woman claimed that “I am terrified to go back to Malta and what he may do to me and to my child. I also do not see why we have to go back. We were only there for a few months and it was hell since I got there.”

Thake said Collins’ claims of being put through hell were spurious. “It is absolutely not the case. She had been in Malta since around 2016 and had the intention of sitting for exams in Malta in March 2020. She was waited on hand and foot by Borg’s parents who even raised her other child as if it were their own.”

The woman had also lied to Borg’s legal team, claiming to be in Gozo when in fact she was already in the UK, it was said.

The case has become a political football in Scotland, with Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Alex Rowley writing to the First Minister, Lord Advocate and Justice Secretary. “I have written to all levels of ­government to look into this case as a ­matter of urgency,” he told the British press.

In his letter, he said: “At a very minimum, this case should be put on hold until it can be reviewed and, in the current circumstances, no one should be forced to travel from Scotland to a foreign country.”

MSP Mike Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations, has also brought Collins’ case to the attention of Children’s Minister, Maree Todd, and Holyrood’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee convenor, Christina McKelvie.

Collins, who had filed an appeal against the judgment, but later abandoned it, returned to Malta yesterday on a repatriation flight. The woman and child will remain in quarantine for two weeks, after which discussions on child custody will have to take place.