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Algarve - Ellie kidnap case, father took daughter "due to his despair"

elliefree3The trial of Filipe Silva started today. Silva is the Vilamoura based businessman who abducted his daughter Ellie (pictured) in 2012, sparking a nationwide search which tracked the girl down to an apartment in Oporto.

Witness claimed in court today that Filipe Silva did not plan the kidnapping of his daughter, stating that the girl told her father that she did not want to return to Ireland where she lived with her mother Candice.

The former partner of Filipe Silva said today in court that the girl's father acted out of desperation.

Filipe Silva, who failed to return the girl in July 2012 ('September 2012' was claimed in court) after spending holidays with her, then hid Ellie for seven months to the distress of her mother and current husband.

The first session of the trial finally started on Friday morning, after three postponements, with the former partner of the businessman, who at the time lived with the accused, said that in the days before the date set for Ellie’s return to Ireland, the eight-year-old had cried and asked her father not to take her back to her mother.

"He (Filipe Silva) grabbed her daughter and said 'do not cry anymore, your father will not take you to Ireland,'" according to witness Ana Isabel Almeida who added that her ex-partner had been "desperate" not knowing what to do, and acted "instinctively" and had not planned to flee with his daughter.

Silva, who today chose not to testify, took the girl to a friend's house in Oporto where she was seven found months later in February 2013.

Ellie finally was handed over to the authorities by Filpe Silva’s paternal grandmother and Filipe Silva was detained by the Judicial Police.

Before deciding to keep the girl from her mother, in August 2012 Filipe Silva filed an injunction to try to block Ellie’s departure to Ireland.

This was a result of a letter from Ellie’s mother, Candice Gannon, "in which she expressed her intention of moving from Madeira to Ireland with her daughter and her current partner."(In fact this letter was a formal request from Candice Gannon for Silva to agree to Ellie moving to Ireland.)

Ana Isabel Almeida also claimed that the girl's mother did not provide her with a stable life, and claimed that while residing in Madeira, Ellie changed school "five or six times."

The next witness for the defence, Luis Calçada Correia, a long standing friend of the accused Filipe Silva, said that Silva was concerned about the move to Ireland.

"I know Filipe well and he would never do anything against the will of his daughter," said Correia, who then alleged that Candice Gannon did not behave normally as a mother, claiming there had been some episodes of heavy drinking.

Luis Calçada Correia, the owner of a pharmacy in Vilamoura and neighbour of the accused, said that Ellie said several times that she did not want to lose contact with her father and definitely did not want to go to Ireland.

The trial continues and it is expected in due course that Ellie, her mother and Philip Gannon will testify by teleconference from Ireland with a different version of the events and facts surrounding the lead up to and period of Ellie's kidnap.



Silva's defence seems to be off to a very shakey start as It is already proven in the Faro criminal court that Ellie's mother did not plan wrongfully to remove her daughter to Ireland, as his witnesses are claiming. She had written a formal request to Silva to which he was not obliged to agree.

Prior to Ellie's kidnapping, the Portuguese Family Law Court, the High Court the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court all had issued decisions that awarded the custody of Ellie to her mother. Filpe Silva ignored the request for Ellie to live in Ireland which he was under no obligation to agree to and hid her in Oporto for seven months.

A source close to this case commented that based on the facts it will become clear that Silva deliberately broke the law by taking and hiding his daughter from her mother and the authorities, and has shown no remorse for his actions nor the pain and suffering he has caused to Ellie and her mother.

The time, trouble and expense Silva has caused the Portuguese authorities may also be taken into account. The personal opinion of his witnesses may not be enough for Silva to avoid a conviction for the serious crime of kidnap of which he is acused.



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+1 #2 Dennis.P 2015-11-01 16:00
The time, trouble and expense Silva has caused the Portuguese authorities may also be taken into account...

A particularly distasteful angle on this affair and purely Portuguese, was the role of the officers of the law and the justice system - Prosecutors, Court staff, Police(?), a lawyer.

All - in a more developed country, would have been under an obligation to admit that they actually knew where the child was being kept. But this is Portugal. Still stuck in a time warp 130 years ago - when Ireland was part of the old British Empire.

As the National Anthem went - Attack the British (Empire). So, in a typically twisted Portuguese mind of today, the Irish are also a legitimate, target !

As Portugal has conclusively proved over 30 years - the European Union deserves to fail for letting such perennial losers into this Economic Community. Portugal refusing to let go its out of date neurosis. Or get any treatment for it.
-1 #1 Mike Harris 2015-10-30 18:41
There have been hundreds of these failed 'connections' of Portuguese with north Europeans and there has to be a lesson learnt. 300 plus in the last few years was mentioned the other day in a national paper. Amongst the reasons ......

As repeated endlessly by the more experienced expats, anyone from a country that was in the British Empire circa 1890 needs to be fully aware of events that year and their consequences. And the extent that they still colour your treatment by the Portuguese today.

Their very secrecy from the foreigner yet being so fundamental to Portugal's recent history testifies to their power. Two events - the Ultimatum itself then the exhortation to "Attack the British" in the National Anthem that cannot be openly discussed by them as it makes them look 'silly'. Exactly the opposite to the message in the 'Welcome to Portugal" guide books !

If a Portuguese does want a relationship with you they are rebelling against their history ! Making a statement to friends and family. Having made that statement what else will keep the link alive ? Kids just complicate the breakup.

Also be well aware that if there are Portuguese family property assets there is no possibility that 'shared ownership rights for the enemy' will come with the arrangement. Indeed it is highly unlikely there will be a formal marriage at all. Just someone shooting through.

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