A British mother embroiled in an international tug-of-love dispute was acting on “instinct” when she abducted four of her five children, the High Court heard.
From the left David, Eva, Tomas, Sarah (who was not missing) and Jessica Palacin Jones Photo: PA
Welsh teacher Jennifer Jones had been due to hand over her children to their father at Cardiff Airport, but two were “so traumatised” about having to go back to Spain that she went into hiding with them, she claimed.
Miss Jones, 46, is now waiting to hear whether she will be jailed for being in contempt of court.
Government legal advisers argued that she had been in contempt when she failed to hand four of her children to her Spanish ex-husband – army officer Tomas Palacin Cambra, 53, who was granted custody when they separated in 2008.
Lawyers representing Solicitor General Oliver Heald said that she should be penalised for breaching a High Court order to hand the children to their father. Miss Jones resisted the contempt application at a hearing in London.
Her four youngest had been visiting her for a holiday when she enrolled them schools in her home town of Llanelli, South Wales, and started custody proceedings.
After an application by the Spanish courts the High Court ruled they should be returned to their father. But Miss Jones and the four children – Jessica, now 15, Tomas, now 13, Eva, now 10, and David Palacin Jones, now eight – disappeared.
They were all found safe and well within days after a public appeal for help.
Her lawyers claimed that two of her children were “traumatised” and had run to the local police station.
“Those children didn’t want to go back. It was pretty clear, “ Miss Jones reportedly told the court.
“All I knew was that my daughter and my son had run away and escaped. I was very concerned about my children.
“I was so frightened because I knew I was supposed to be in Cardiff. I was going through a lot of emotions. As a mother you go by your instincts.”
Her lawyers told judge Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division of the High Court, that her contempt was not “deliberate”.
They said the children’s behaviour had made it impossible for her to comply with the order and send them back to their father in Majorca.
Sir James, who was told that the maximum penalty for being in contempt was two years’ imprisonment, said he would announce his decision today.
Colonel Cambera was also granted custody of the children’s older sister Sara, who is in her late teens, when he and Miss Jones split.
After the children were found in October, Eva and David went back to Spain with their father but Jessica and Tomas refused to go.
A High Court judge ruled that the Spanish court’s order to return would remain in place – but said Jessica and Tomas could “temporarily” return to their mother’s care while litigation continued.
Speaking outside court, Miss Jones told the Daily Mail she was “devastated” and had not seen her other three children since they returned to Spain
SOURCE: The Telegraph