The identity of the BBC TV star accused of abducting her own child – leading to a bitter custody battle with her former partner – has now been revealed.
The woman in question is CBeebies presenter Katy Ashworth. She brought the child back to Britain after a trip to Australia earlier this year. The father, documentary maker Ben Alcott, argued that the child was habitually resident in Australia.
He claimed that his former partner Ashworth, 30, had agreed to stay in the country to start a new life together. He complained that the presenter had been wrong to take the two-year-old child back to the UK, sparking a court battle. The couple are said to have met while filming a TV show in Africa before having the child three years later.
She apparently messaged him shortly after leaving Australia, stating: "I know everything."
Deputy High Court Judge Alex Verdan analysed evidence over two days at a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London and has now ruled in favour of the presenter.
The judge concluded that Ashworth did not wrongfully remove the child from Australia – and that she had always been the child's primary carer and travelled to Australia with the child in April.
The judge said: "The father says this was a permanent move. The mother says it was a trial attempt to see if their relationship would work out long term."
He clarified that Ashworth and the child stayed at the father's home for three nights before returning to the UK. The judge added: "The main reason the mother left Australia was that she discovered material on the father's computer which indicated his infidelity."
He said Ashworth had emailed Alcott, saying: "Ben. I know everything. I'm done. Have packed up and left."
Ashworth emailed again after arriving in the UK. "Thank goodness I found out all the lies before moving to Australia with you for good," she wrote.
Alcott alleged that while his ex-partner was pregnant, she agreed to apply for Australian citizenship and start a family life on the other side of the world. He is trying to have access to the child restored with the aid of the 1980 Hague Convention on international child abduction. The father also claims that the former couple's agreement to permanently move to Australia means the child was legally habitually resident there.
A friend of the director said: "When [the actress] became pregnant the agreement was she would come out to Oz and they would live together."
"Because of her career it took some time to arrange but she quit the BBC and finally arrived in Sydney. The intention was always to have a family life in Australia and bring up [the child] together," they added.
The father has also made claims that he found out that the BBC actress was having an affair with another man, but they agreed to continue their relationship. Since she returned to London with the child, he says that he has only had 11 hours with the child.
The actress says that she was visiting Sydney on an extended holiday and had already booked a return flight to the UK.