Wednesday 21 March 2018

Mum's fear as child (8) back with kidnap suspect dad

Ellie Silva
Ellie Silva

Gerard Couzens

A TUG-of-love schoolgirl abducted by her own dad is set to spend her first weekend with him since she was returned to her Irish mum.

Ellie Silva (8) has refused to see her Portuguese father since a tearful reunion with mum Candice Gannon (28) in February on the Algarve.

But a court gave the go-ahead to a renewal of the normal visiting rota after a traumatic parental conference in Faro on Monday.

This afternoon, Filipe Silva will pick Ellie up from school and spend the whole weekend with her, despite the fact he is still being investigated by an Algarve criminal court on suspicion of kidnapping her.

Ellie's anguished mum admitted yesterday she was terrified at the prospect of letting her ex take her daughter from her again.

The youngster went missing for more than seven months after vanishing during a two-week holiday with wealthy Mr Silva last July.

She was only returned safe and well to her mum, who currently lives in Madeira with Dublin-born husband Philip, after police arrested Mr Silva following a high-profile internet appeal by Candice for her safe return.

The mum-of-two admitted: "I'm beside myself with worry about what's going to happen.

"The last time he had her I didn't see her for more than seven months.

"It's Mother's Day in Portugal on Sunday. I'm just praying nothing untoward happens."

Husband Philip added: "We think the decision the court has made is diabolical and most people we speak to think it's diabolical.

"He's allowed to have Ellie every second weekend from Friday to Monday and half of all the holidays."

A judge decided Mr Silva, who is still fighting for custody, should be able to start spending weekends with his daughter again after interviewing her.

Irish Independent

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