A boy abducted by his ex-soldier mother and brought to Northern Ireland does not have to be returned to Lithuania, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
The nine-year-old child’s grandparents launched a legal bid to get him back after he was allegedly snatched and bundled into a van while walking home from school.
But senior judges in Belfast held that they no longer had rights of custody by the time of the abduction in 2012.
Despite dismissing their challenge, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan called for the boy’s future welfare to be closely monitored.
The boy, identified only as KK, lived with his grandparents from around his birth in 2005 until March 2012.
His mother had left him in their care so she could return to serve in the Army.
She is then believed to have left Lithuania and moved to Northern Ireland in 2006, setting up home with a new partner. In February 2012 KK’s mother and her partner travelled to Lithuania intent on bringing him to Northern Ireland.
She claimed she decided to take matters into her own hands after being advised that legal attempts to gain custody would be lengthy.