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Thursday, 21 March, 2002, 15:33 GMT
'I don't know when I'll see Cameron again'
Sally Blayney-Smith and Cameron
Before the split: Sally and son Cameron
The case of Sarra Fotheringham highlighted the plight of mothers whose children are snatched by their father. With the help of charity Reunite, Sally Blayney-Simpson, of Halifax, is hoping to track down her five-year old son.

I haven't seen Cameron or heard from him in almost six months. Not a word. And I really, really do not know when I will see him again.

There's some word that he's in the Dominican Republic. It's all through the grapevine I've heard, from friends who also know Cameron's father.

It was a funny relationship. He was very jealous, a big drinker

But going over there would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. If I had a definite address, a definite sighting, I'd be on the first plane out.

But apart from anything, I can't afford to go over there and spend weeks searching.

I met Cameron's dad in Gran Canaria, nine years ago. I was 20, just a young thing and wanted to go away and have a working holiday. [Cameron's father] is British.

We went to Tenerife together after a couple of years. He was selling timeshare. It was a funny relationship and I kind of knew it was wrong but after four years I had Cameron. After that I couldn't get out really and it was me and Cameron 24 hours a day.

Sarra Fotheringham and family
Sarra Fotheringham was arrested after trying to take back her son
I missed home and not having my family around. Not three months would go by without us visiting each other.

I wanted to end the relationship and go home for good but Cameron was settling at school and speaking Spanish.

In December 2000 my dad was diagnosed with cancer and was having an operation to remove a tumour, so I went home for three weeks, with Cameron, to be with my family.


It was at that point I made up my mind something had to be done. I telephoned him and said when I come back we are going to split up.

He was angry and I just thought living apart in Tenerife wasn't going to work. The only hope Cameron had of a good, stable upbringing was to stay here, in England. So I didn't go back.

I went home to see my dad, had literally five minutes with him and then had rush for a flight back to Tenerife

I got a job and he sent over money to me, boxed up Cameron's toys and my clothes and sent them back.

In June he took Cameron on a holiday to Scotland. I was very nervous. It would be the first time ever I was without Cameron. But I knew he would be ok.

Then in August he invited Cameron over to Tenerife for three weeks. As far as I was concerned he could have as much contact as he liked.

Dreaded call

Then the day before Cameron was due to fly back I spoke to [his father] and he said 'He's not coming back'.

Tenerife, where Sally lived for eight years
He said he'd been to court and got some paperwork. I just thought I don't believe it, I don't believe this. I was screaming down the phone at him.

It was Sunday and a bank holiday weekend, so I couldn't get hold of a lawyer until Tuesday. I flew over with my sister and went to his apartment to fetch Cameron.

I should have taken him there and then, but I thought his dad would see sense. But he told me to leave and threw me out of the apartment.

I waited for three weeks and when it came to court I won back custody of Cameron. But he didn't give him back so I had to wait for another court order so the police would get him for me.

No show in court

By the time that came through he wasn't at his apartment, or at work.

Meanwhile, my dad at home was deteriorating really badly. I decided to go back to England for three days to see him.

As soon as I arrived at Liverpool airport I got a call to say things has suddenly changed in Tenerife. It was so stressful. I saw my dad, had literally five minutes with him and then rushed back to Tenerife for a morning court appearance.

But neither Cameron nor his dad turned up and I've been waiting ever since.

Staying strong

I think about Cameron all the time. Just before Christmas my father died and that was a real low point.

I think about Cameron always, but I think about him in a way I can deal with. I have to be 100% strong because I don't know when he's coming back.

Sometimes I go to his bedroom, with all his toys, and sit down and cry and I'll sob and I'll sob.

A mother and son have a special bond, and that hasn't broken. I will always, always have that and I'm certain I'll see him. I couldn't live with the thought that I'd never see him again.

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See also:

13 Mar 02 | Middle East
14 Mar 02 | Middle East
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