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BBC Scotland's Jane Franchi
"It was a catch-22 from which it seemed there was no way out"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 15 February, 2000, 17:00 GMT
New hope in child custody case

Yellow ribbon Campaigners put ribbons around the village

A woman is hoping for a breakthrough in the search for her nine-year-old daughter, who disappeared in France last July while on holiday with her father.

Robert Cameron failed to return Sasha to her home in Portmahomack in Easter Ross after a holiday at Euro Disney.

The nine-year-old's last contact with her mother was by mobile phone from the middle of the Disney parade.

Sasha Cameron Sasha last called her mother from Disney parade
Fiona Cameron said it was a heart-rending call: "Her last words were mummy, mummy please don't go."

Ms Cameron, who has legal custody, said the authorities had done little to try to find her daughter.

Her estranged husband is guilty of a civil not a criminal offence, and that has limited the steps police can take to track him down.

"They said it was only criminal if she was held against her will," she said.

Panel warrant

"What we would have to do is find her first and then prove her will had not changed in the meantime."

A Children's Panel warrant for Sasha's return has been granted in Scotland, but it cannot be delivered because her address is unknown.

France and the UK are signatories to the Hague Convention on child abduction, but it cannot be enacted for the same reason.

Fiona Cameron Fiona Cameron is seeking help from the French system
Ms Cameron's French lawyer, Martine Faury, has successfully applied for a court hearing at the Palace de Justice in Angouleme.

If Robert Cameron does not appear at the hearing, it is almost certain he will be found guilty of not returning a child, which is a criminal offence in France.

That will mean the police can start looking for him and for Sasha.

Homecoming symbol

Portmahomack, a small village on the Moray Firth, has been festooned with yellow ribbons, the international symbol of homecoming.

The Cameron divorce and custody battle, which started in 1994 was long, bitter and fought out in courts in Edinburgh and France.

Robert Cameron Robert Cameron: Disappeared with daughter
During it, Fiona Cameron herself went on the run with her two daughters.

At one stage she was found in contempt of court and narrowly escaped a prison sentence.

Mr Cameron is believed to have sold his home in the Charente region of France and disappeared with Sasha and his girlfriend Jenni Carter.

His estranged wife claims a holiday address, which he gave as part of the access arrangements, has proved to be false.
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See also:
27 Sep 99 |  Scotland
Fears for girl's safety mount
11 Aug 99 |  UK
Interpol hunt for missing British girl
11 Aug 99 |  UK
Villagers call for snatched girl's return

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