5 May, 2014 @ 14:00
1 min read

Mother fends off jail sentence after refusing to return her children to Spain


A SPANISH army officer has failed to have his wife jailed after she went on the run with their children.

Tomas Palacin Cambra’s marriage to British woman Jennifer Jones, 48, collapsed in 2008.

The mother-of-five sparked a media frenzy in 2012 after running off with four of her children with her new partner John Williams, one the day they were supposed to be returned to their father.

Eva, 10, and David, eight, live with their father and elder sister Sara, 17, in Spain.

But 16-year-old Jessica – due to start her GCSEs next week at her school in Llanelli, in south Wales – and Tomas, 14, have vowed never to return to Spain.

Jessica told the court she would rather die than return to her father, saying that she would ‘top herself’ if forced to return because she is ‘scared of her father’ because ‘he has really bad tempers’.

When asked how she would feel if her mother was jailed, she replied: “I’d have a break down. There’s nothing my mum could have said or done to have made us go back to Spain.

“I don’t understand why he would want to put mum in jail. This is just too much.”

The High Court judge Sir James Munby said Jessica’s account of her family’s trouble is ‘one of the saddest things’ he had ever heard.

Jones, a schoolteacher, wept tears of joy outside the courtroom in London after successfully fending off a jail sentence this week.

While pleased about the judgement, she added: “This victory, if that is what it is, feels very hollow, because at the heart of this terribly sad matter are five children who are no longer together as a family as they should be.

“It’s so hard on all of them. They should be together, playing and smiling and doing all the things siblings do together.

“I will never give up fighting to reunite them.”

Imogen Calderwood

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