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Father claims he has sole custody of kidnapped child

Father claims he has custody of kidnapped child

A millionaire British lawyer has revealed he snatched his son in Austria and rushed him away by private jet to Sark in the Channel Islands because under archaic local laws unmarried mothers have no rights for custody over children born out of marriage.

Wealthy Lawyer Stefan Gomoll not only lives on the island, but is also a powerful figure in the local government where he is the chairman of the Finance and Commerce Committee.

He has been involved in a bitter row with Dominique Ruggaber, the German mother of his four-year-old son British son Caspar who was awarded sole custody by a court in Austria where the mother is living.

But in October the father made a visit taking the boy to a playground in Baden, Lower Austria, together with his maternal grandfather. When the older man went to the bathroom briefly the dad grabbed the boy and drove to the airport when he flew out of the country before police could act to put out an alert.

Once back in Sark he filed an application for custody under the islands archaic laws that state he is entitled to sole custody because he was not married to the child's mother and she therefore has no claim on the boy.

This is now to to be heard at the Supreme Court in the Channel Islands and until then the youngster is having to remain in Sark.

The mother's lawyer Britta Schönhart said: "The father has appealed the decisions which have so far been in the mother's favour, but until the final ruling nothing counts. Until that happens the mother and child are not allowed to leave the island. It is difficult because the financial resources are not unlimited and she now has to stay in Sark."

The parents split in April 2012 and the mother returned to Baden in Austria to live with the child near her parents who also live in Baden. From February 2013 to August 2013 the mother had moved to the Channel Islands with the child but after the father threatened to take the child away and put him in a boarding school, she left and returned to Austria.

The father faces child abduction charges in Austria and the prosecutor in Wiener Neustadt is investigating.

The boy has joint German and British nationality, and both passports were with the mother when he was seized and Austrian police are also investigating how he managed to get the boy onto the plane without a passport.

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