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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2007, 07:07 GMT
Foster mother has baby with 'son'
Julia Gregg and Krenar Lleshi and their baby, Hattie
Julia Gregg and Krenar Lleshi and their baby, Hattie
A foster mother has had a baby with a refugee from Eastern Europe whom she took in when he was 14.

Julia Gregg, 34, and her husband, Steve Crandon, 38, gave a home to Kosovan Krenar Lleshi after he arrived in south Wales in the back of a lorry in 1999.

But the Ebbw Vale couple later divorced and Ms Gregg and Mr Lleshi, 21, fell in love. Ms Gregg said they plan to marry.

She said: "I know people have gossiped about us but we are very proud parents."

Mr Lleshi was smuggled in to Britain with fellow Kosovan Edmond Pone, when both were aged 14.

The pair were taken into local authority care and fostered by Ms Gregg, then 27, and Mr Crandon.

It might not have been the most conventional start to a relationship but we are just like any other family
Julia Gregg

Both were listed as illegal immigrants and their foster parents fought to keep them in Britain describing the youngsters as "model citizens".

Mr Pone lost his fight to stay in Britain and the Home Secretary ordered he be returned to his relatives in Kosovo. But he fled before he was deported and is still missing.

Mr Lleshi was given "exceptional leave" to stay by the Home Office because all his family had also fled Kosovo and he continued to live with Ms Gregg and Mr Crandon as a foster child.

'Ecstatic'

The couple had fostered more than 20 teenagers at their home at Ebbw Vale, south Wales.

Ms Gregg said she split with Mr Crandon when their marriage failed, and Mr Lleshi, then aged 19, moved in with his foster father.

She said he later returned to her, and that was when the pair of them fell in love.

She said: "It might not have been the most conventional start to a relationship but we are just like any other family with the same hopes and dreams for our daughter.

"Our relationship began a long time after the breakdown of my marriage. Steve's been very understanding."

Ms Gregg said she and Mr Lleshi were "ecstatic" about the birth of their daughter, Hattie.

She added: "There is nothing better for us than our daughter - she's our gift from God. We are no different from any other couple or any other family."

Mr Lleshi, who works as a plumber, said: "I am really happy with Julia and Hattie. We are engaged and I hope we will get married in the future."

Mr Crandon, who lives three miles away, declined to comment.

A friend of his said: "He's moved on with his life and wants to put it all behind him.

"It's more than two years since he and Julie split. It was very difficult at first but time heals. He knows about the baby but it is none of his concern now."




SEE ALSO
Kosovan asylum appeal refused
12 Aug 03 |  Wales

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