Following the harrowing case of a Portuguese family living in UK losing all five children to Social Services, a similar incident has caused a desperate Portuguese father living in Watford to appeal for consular help.
Miguel Perdigão was preparing to leave England with his children, when they were taken from him and his Mozambican wife Tuaira on Saturday, writes Correio da Manhã.
As with the story of the immigrant Pedro family, these stories rarely reach public notice in Portugal unless a paper takes them on.
In the case of the Pedros, Público ran a series of articles centring on what pro-bono lawyers were alleging is an “adoption scandal” in Britain of labyrinthine proportions.
This time it is Correio da Manhã that is fighting the issue. But this far all appeals to Secretary of State José Cesário appear to have fallen on stony ground.
As the Pedros before him, Perdigão is asking for his ‘case’ to be settled in Portugal.
His children were taken into care over claims by the eldest child (Tuaira’s from a previous relationship) that her step-father had slapped her.
The 14-year-old child is since reported to have retracted her story, but that was not sufficient for the family to escape the attention of Watford’s social services, explains CM.
The family was apparently hiding out in a friend’s house.
What has made matters infinitely worse is the fact that Perdigão’s youngest child is a newborn, and was being breastfed by his wife. “My wife is desperate,” he told CM.
The couple are due to appear in court in UK, while a psychiatric evaluation of Perdigão has been undertaken but will not be ‘ready’ until June 12.
Meantime, the couple’s children (two girls and the baby boy) remain in care.