Tavira kidnap dad finally goes on trial this week

Almost a year since he was caught, “kidnap dad” Paulo Guiomar is finally to go on trial.

His tug-of-love daughter Maria Alice – taken from her mother and hidden for two years – is now back enjoying a normal life with the little half-brother she didn’t know she had.

But as the final leg of justice plays out in a Faro court this week, the story shows how long it takes for family traumas like this to be settled.

In the dock on Wednesday will not only be Guiomar, a former Tavira maritime policeman, but his mother, Maria Dolores, who allegedly helped keep little Alice hidden in an attic apartment in Belgium.

The story, which shocked the nation in 2012, is just one of many parental kidnappings that take place every year. And they all take time to resolve.

Here in the Algarve and still awaiting trial is the kidnapping by Portuguese father Filipe Silva of his English daughter Giselle “Ellie” Silva.

Again, this is taking its time to get to court, although the child is back with her mother and living a settled life in Ireland.

As newspapers explain this morning, Guiomar is charged with kidnapping, the abandonment of his own duties as a policeman and the illegal detention of a weapon.

The Public Ministry’s case centres on the plan hatched between Guiomar and his mother to keep Maria Alice hidden from the authorities.

According to Correio de Manhã, the plan involved moving frequently and dressing the child up as a boy.

Maria Alice went missing from her home in September, 2012 and effectively missed two years of school.

When she was finally recovered last year, she returned to her former class in Luz de Tavira and her family requested as little press intrusion as possible so that the nine-year-old could reintegrate into the life she had lost.

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