A Fife mother has spoken of her terror after a judge ruled she must travel to Malta during lockdown to return her baby to his place of birth.
Eighteen-year-old Leigha Collins brought her two sons to Scotland in December after her relationship with her partner broke down amid allegations of violence.
Judge Lord Brailsford has decided the couple’s one-year-old son Hayes must go back to the island where his father lives, despite a warning from an infectious diseases expert it would be reckless to travel due to the risk of coronavirus.
If Hayes and his mother do not travel the 2,000 miles to Malta this week he could be removed from her care.
However, if she does go, she would have to leave her two-year-old son Alfie in Scotland.
Ms Collins, from Kinghorn, told STV News she was scared for herself and for Hayes and added: “It’s a horrible feeling.
“I’ve been having panic attacks because of all this. I’m stressed out and my friends are worried for me. Everyone’s scared.
“I don’t know what to do. We have tried everything.”
Ms Collins accused her former partner Kyle Borg of assault before leaving Malta.
Mr Borg then launched an action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh calling for Hayes to be returned.
Professor John Lambert from University College Dublin told the court it would be reckless to order Ms Collins and her son to travel and lawyers for the teenager claimed she would be put at grave risk and in an intolerable situation.
Lord Brailsford ruled that criminal activity by Kyle Borg had not been proven and may be before the Maltese courts.
He added: “It is perfectly clear that the intolerable situation she refers to is her own circumstances.
“Now that may well be the case. I don’t need to judge that, but it is not the situation so far as the child is concerned.”
Ms Collins has the support of Labour MSP Alex Rowley, who raised the issue with Nicola Sturgeon at First Ministers Questions.
She said: “I sympathise with the consequences but it would be completely wrong of me to interfere with the process.”
Mr Rowley said the court should take the coronavirus pandemic into account.
“I don’t believe it is safe for my constituent and her baby to travel at this time when we have a global pandemic, a virus that it killing thousands and thousands around the world.”
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