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Nine months of hell for couple after baby is taken into care
DAD Jack Barnes told of his nine months of hell without his baby girl.
Jack Barnes and his girlfriend Cheryl Rich had their baby taken away in December 2012, just a month after she was born.
Social services feared Jack was violent and posed a real threat to Cheryl and Misty. The couple were also accused of neglect by the council’s social workers.
Thurrock Council was alerted after Cheryl was attacked following an unlicensed cagefight which Jack had taken part in and won. No-one was ever arrested.
When she gave birth in November, social services soon took Misty into care for adoption, following concerns from the council for the safety of Cheryl and the baby.
Jack and Cheryl then started their long legal battle to get Misty back.
Jack said: “On adoption papers presented to us just weeks before the court case, I was accused of being a terrorist following an “anonymous referral”.
“I thought it was a joke. If that was the case, why didn’t the council report me to the authorities?
“The paper said ‘Mr Barnes is a risk to national security. He has knowledge of making bombs and threatened to blow up buildings.
”I was also accused of pumping my two dogs with steroids and using them for fighting, which was also rubbish.”
In court, one social worker told how Jack had spent eight months in Belmarsh Prison for armed robbery, a fact taken from muddled medical records.
That was a case of mistaken identity. It was not Jack who had been in prison, but a relative.
And the couple were left gobsmacked in January 2013 - a month after Misty had been taken into care - when their solicitor received a letter about the wrong baby, which even gave reasons as to why that child had been taken into care. The council admitted the error and asked for the letter be destroyed.
Later, a Statement of Fact submitted to court, listed the wrong name of the child, the wrong sex and the wrong council.
Chreyl said “The whole thing was unbelievable. It’s been so hard.”
Then finally on Friday, September 26 last year, at Southend County Court, family judge Lynn Roberts ruled that Misty could live with Jack and Cheryl, but said they should be supervised for a year. Jack told the Gazette that the family have not seen a social worker since.
A council spokesman said: “Thurrock Council will not discuss issues involving a vulnerable child, but it is important to point out its social care team has been in regular contact with the family before, during and after the court case.
“The family has been asked to provide a detailed written complaint, setting out all their issues so it can be investigated properly by a non-council, independent person.”
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