A FATHERS4JUSTICE campaigner has spoken to his daughter for the first time in 500 days since a judge allowed his ex-wife to take the four-year-old to Russia.
Martyn Judd was able to wish his little girl Elizabeth a ‘happy birthday’ and chat to her over Skype last week, the first contact the two have shared in more than a year, after his fight to expose the court decision that allowed her removal was featured in the Chronicle two months ago.
And on April 17, the 38-year-old campaigner travelled to Russia to finally be reunited with his only child.
“My mum was in happy hysterics when we could talk to Elizabeth over Skype but after having gone through it all I don’t cry anymore, I was over the moon inside but I don’t let it show on the outside – I don’t want to get burned again,” said Martyn, who has spent thousands on court cases, contemplated suicide and even been charged with criminal damage in his desperate bid for justice.
“We played kitchen, and she showed me her new favourite toy, an electric car.
“She kept saying ‘why are you not here, it’s my birthday’, it was like our relationship was just as it was before.”
The businessman first met his ex-wife Alina Judd in the Republic of Bashkortostan, in southern Russia, while on a six-month teaching placement and the couple married 18 months later.
But soon after the birth of their first child, Elizabeth, the relationship turned sour and the pair divorced, with Martyn moving back to the UK but continuing to travel for regular visits.
Alina later moved the family to join him but conflict over permanent living arrangements, and her new partner, led to a family court dispute where in November 2012 a judge allowed Alina to return to Russia, from where Martyn claims she blocked all contact with his daughter.
Then last month Elizabeth’s grandparents intervened after learning of his public fight against the decision, after his story appeared in the Chronicle.
“They got in touch to say they had decided that Elizabeth needs her father,” added Martyn.
“I’ve written a blog, I’ve been arrested, I’ve told my story on Facebook and in the newspaper – they’ve seen it all and it proves that this is just ridiculous.”
Although Martyn believes his visit to Russia is a huge step forward, he could never let himself ‘have false hope’ as to what it might mean in the future.
“I would advise someone in my position to not back down and be walked over; you have to stand up for what is right – when it comes to our children nobody can say how far is too far,” he added.
In August last year, Martyn was involved in a five-hour police siege when he took to a hotel balcony in Birmingham dressed as Night Owl from the comic book and movie Watchmen, and hung a banner reading ‘Equal rights, equal parents, equal love’.
He was there for the Voice of a Child conference, but his protest came to end when he lit a cigarette which sparked the hotel’s sprinklers in three rooms, and he was later charged with criminal damage.