In stark contrast to other cases where fathers have kidnapped their own children, Algarve businessman Filipe Silva has been spared a jail sentence for the seven months in which he kept his seven-year-old daughter Ellie hidden away from her distraught mother.
A Faro judge last week ruled on the case that hit the headlines four years ago and apparently even today sees Ellie needing psychological support.
According to media reports, the judge who handed Silva a two-and-a-half year suspended sentence had stern words for both parents, calling them “children” when Ellie had had to behave like an adult.
“It was very sad,” she said. “Instead of sharing the child’s affections, they argued over her.”
Needless to say, Ellie’s mother Candice – with whom Ellie has now been reunited permanently, with not one visit or attempt at contact from Silva – considers the statements simplistic in the extreme.
At no point in the summing up was any mention made of the fact that Silva’s lawyer knew exactly where the child was being kept by her father, nor that a court employee was found to have been complicit in the cover-up (click here).
Repeatedly alleging unfair treatment from the Portuguese justice system, the Irish mother-of-four is just delighted, she told us, that the family is now all back together and living in Ireland where child protection is taken “a little more seriously” than it is here.
“We are raging at the leniency of this sentence, but we sort of knew all along that the courts would let him get away with it,” she said.
Silva did not even turn up to hear the ruling. His mother is understood to have delivered a sick note explaining his absence, Candice told us.
Meantime, Ellie’s mother adds that the family has little faith of receiving the €17,665 in compensation – particularly as Silva has failed to pay any kind of child support since 2011 (click here).
“We are just glad the ordeal is finally over, and we can go back to enjoying family life,” she added.