‘Express & Star’ June 29th 2001 (p 28)
This is the first case of ‘child kidnap’ by Social Services that we were made aware of and in which we became actively involved. FRM (Fathers Rights Movement) members from the Wolverhampton area joined together to provide legal advice, publicity and moral support to the entire family.
This case pre-dates the very good work done by John Hemming MP (Lib Dem) in turning a searchlight into this dark and nasty recess.
A father who brought the M6 at Great Barr to a standstill for four hours by dangling from a gantry above the carriageway and threatening to jump has walked free from court.
- “I don’t think I have ever come across someone who has suffered so much exceptional misfortune in such a short period of time,” he said.
The judge told the defendant he accepted that he had been ‘driven’ to stage his dramatic protest against society by a number of factors including having his children taken away from him.
Judge McCarthy said that he had read reports and letters submitted on Biddulph’s behalf and added:
- “I don’t think I have ever seen anything quite like it.”
Biddulph, of Whittington Oval, Stechford, Birmingham, had earlier pleaded guilty to putting something across the M6 which caused a danger to road users and appeared yesterday at Wolverhampton Crown Court to be sentenced.
Prosecuting counsel Mr. Richard Ace told the court that the M6 near junction seven had to be closed for four hours, causing chaos, when father-of-five Biddulph clambered onto the gantry on May 10 this year.
He put a rope in the form of a noose around his neck when police tried to talk him down then dropped himself over the edge, clinging on only by his fingertips [ ‘clinging on only by his fingertips’ was an exaggeration but the noose was true – Ed ].
Both carriageways of the motorway, the busiest stretch in Europe, were brought to a standstill during the police operation to rescue the defendant.
Judge McCarthy, who also imposed a two-year supervision order on Biddulph, told him:
- “You endangered people and you caused a huge number of people an enormous amount of inconvenience and frustration.”
Defending counsel Mr. Pardeep Tiwana said his client was in desperate need of help because of his many problems, including losing his children to care.
After the case, Biddulph said he was pleased that the proceedings had berm finalised and added:
- “The public were really unhappy because they were kept on the motorway for four hours.
- “But I bet there were a lot of people in that queue who also had a beef against social services and knew exactly why I was doing it.”
His mother Anne Biddulph, who had applauded when Judge McCarthy passed sentence, said:
- “I am not against social services keeping children in foster care, and neither is Jason if it’s the best thing for the children.”
- “When they are in foster care we can have visits with them. What I am against is social services going down the adoption road when there are so many other options.”
Sadly, the last word we had from Mrs. Biddulph, Jason’s mother, a few months later was that Social Services were indeed offering up the children for ‘permanent’ adoption against the express wishes of the entire Biddulph family.
Bearing in mind all the above, when the Dept of Constitutional Affairs invited submissions in response to its Green Paper and Questionnaire regarding how courts operated, we included the following comments:
- Transparency is the element lacking in all custody cases – public law and private law cases. If the judiciary is not doing anything to be ashamed of, it should not fear reporting and publicity. The benefits for government and the freedom from fending off persistent criticisms are obvious. Anonymity might be needed on occasions but can be used is absolutely vital but should be limited as we have specified above.
- We hold this view following the first case we dealt with in May 2001 when the secrecy surrounding the enforced legal adoption by the courts of Mr & Mrs Biddulph’s 5 children came to our attention. Mr. Biddulph was driven to protesting on the M6 motorway and holding up rush hour traffic. He was given no real reason for the enforced adoption of all his children by Birmingham social services and his parents and relatives were not allowed to foster or adopt them.
- Instead his parents, and his wife’s parents who were in their sixties or seventies were asked to collect any family memorabilia and place it in a tin box so that the children could be given the boxes when they reached their majority – by which time the grandparents would be dead. They would never again be seeing their grandchildren. They would have no idea where in the country the children would be living or even if they would be kept together.
- This is not the conduct one expects from a ‘civilised’ state and we would do well to recall the consequences (and the shame) of the enforced ‘Germanisation‘ of Polish children during World War 2.
Germanisation of Polish children, see: http://www.dac.neu.edu/holocaust/Hitlers_Plans.htm#Germanizing%20action
See DCA Questionnaire Courts file – responses