Dad’s year of hell

Darren Cumming with his children Tessa and Jaxson. Sept 6th 2012 E36042N
Darren Cumming with his children Tessa and Jaxson. Sept 6th 2012 E36042N

A FATHER-of-two from Eastbourne who has been reunited with his children after they were abducted to Australia has spoken of his year of hell.

Darren Cumming faced every parent’s worst nightmare when his son and daughter were taken to Victoria by his ex-wife and he faced a lengthy court battle to bring them back to the UK.

He returned to his family home in Eastbourne last month with four-year-old Tessa and three-year-old Jaxon after winning his year-long legal fight.

This week he spoke for the first time about being separated from his children and praised various organisations as well as his family and friends for their care and support.

“It was my worst nightmare,” said Darren, a cricketer who used to run the clubhouse at the Saffrons. “I can’t describe the pain I was in, I just couldn’t function. When the court decision kept getting put off and put off, I just fell apart.

“The Christmas without them was just dreadful. I missed their birthdays. I could only speak to them on the phone as the lawyers said if I went out to Australia, it would destroy my chances of winning.

“I am so glad it is all now finally over and I am back home with the children.”

Thirty-four-year-old Darren’s nightmare began in May last year when he kissed his children goodbye thinking they were going to nursery. Within hours he realised they and his ex-wife were missing and police discovered they were already on a flight to Australia.

At the first court hearing in Melbourne in July last year, Darren applied to bring the children back to the UK.

Permission was refused along with an appeal but three High Court judges ruled the original judge had made errors and last month, with Darren back in court in Australia, his ex-wife conceded the case and it was ruled the children should return to the UK with Darren.

They are now getting ready to return to nursery and school and Darren hopes to return to work as a sports and remedial massage therapist.

He said he also wants to thank his parents, brother Leon, his family and friends and all of his Facebook friends for their support and is also backing organisations such as the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit, Reunite, the UK-based charity specialising in international parental child abduction and Abducted Angels, a campaign group fighting for changes in the law.