Kicking A Lion

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Gay father begs for help to find the son he had with a lesbian

A GAY father today pleaded for help in an international search for his son after the boy vanished with his lesbian mother following a custody battle.

Michael Turberville, 41, has not seen seven-year-old Ashley Skinner since the boy’s mother, Joanne Skinner, disappeared with him more than a year ago.

The IT consultant has launched a public appeal to find him with the backing of Britain’s top family court judge.

There is evidence that Ms Skinner, 35, fled abroad. Mr Turberville believes she may be living with Ashley in Australia.

The president of the High Court family division, Sir Mark Potter, has also lifted reporting restrictions which apply to disputes over children in the hope that publicity will help trace Ashley.

“It is gut-wrenching not to be able to see my son,” Mr Turberville said. “I love him so much. This has ripped my life apart. He was like a little me. I miss him every day.” Mr Turberville, of Reading, fathered the boy with Ms Skinner after advertising in a newspaper for a “like-minded” lesbian. He and Ms Skinner were both in same-sex relationships.

He travelled to her Islington home so she could inseminate herself. Ashley was born in 2001. Until just after his third birthday, she allowed Mr Turberville to see the boy. She then changed her mind and he began court proceedings.

Later, she made criminal allegations against Mr Turberville – unconnected with Ashley – of which he was acquitted by a jury and exonerated by the family court in September last year. Trade union worker Ms Skinner and her son then disappeared. Court orders aimed at tracing them have been unsuccessful.

In April, Ms Skinner’s mother received a letter from her sent from the US, but Mr Turberville believes it was written in Australia and passed on for someone in America to send.

In it she claimed Ashley had started school, and that she was not officially registered at her address. Mr Turberville is originally from Alabama but was born to a British mother and has dual citizenship. He has reported his son missing to Thames Valley Police. He said: “I’m pleading who might know where Ashley is to alert the authorities.”

Sir Mark Potter said: “This mother’s behaviour is to be deplored. She has gone to extreme lengths to cover her trail.” Ashley was being “deprived of a relationship with his father” because of her actions, he added.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Tipstaff to the Royal Courts of Justice in London on 020 7947 6200.

–Jack Lefley

Written by kickingalion

December 18, 2008 at 4:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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