Mum is given full custody of snatched Ellie
Published 26/04/2014 | 16:05
Tug-of-love girl Ellie Gannon will finally return home to be with her family after a Portuguese judge completely rejected her father's application for full custody.
Ellie's mother, Dublin-based Candice Gannon (29), has been fighting a long battle for her daughter which has resulted in her being granted full custody.
Nine-year-old Ellie's father, Filipe Silva (36), is facing kidnapping charges after taking Ellie almost two years ago.
He has also lost his court battle to secure full custody of his daughter after a judge ruled that it would be against the best interests of the child.
Following five days of hearings last month, a judge in Portugal has issued a damning decision, which means that full custody of Ellie will now go to Ms Gannon.
Her partner, businessman Philip Gannon, told the Herald that it was hoped that Ellie would be back home in Ballsbridge by the end of next week.
Ellie has been staying with Silva since last October, when Ms Gannon had to return to Ireland to give birth to twins.
Mr Gannon has revealed the family's joy at finally being able to bring the little girl home.
"It's really good news, you have no idea how relieved we are," he said.
"It comes over in waves, every 10 and 15 minutes how dreadful our position was."
Mr Gannon said that in the course of hearings in the Portuguese courts, Silva's legal team had made a number of "astonishing" claims that were found to be completely untrue.
Silva has been formally accused of kidnap and is awaiting trial in the Portuguese courts by the end of this year.
He has been granted limited visitation rights for Ellie.
Being granted custody is a further joy for Ms Gannon -- who has another daughter, Olivia -- after she gave birth to twin boys, Henry and Charles, in difficult circumstances.
In March, the twins were delivered weeks before their due date as there had been complications throughout the pregnancy.
"It's a miracle they were born. They are really healthy. One had to go to ICU for 48 hours," said Mr Gannon.