A YOUNG Sikh woman who lost her daughters after her "culture" demanded she cover up who injured one of them is a step closer to having them in her arms again.
The Huddersfield woman - who is in her early 20s but cannot be named for legal reasons - was forced to part from the youngsters in 2003 after a High Court judge in Leeds ruled that one of them had been non-accidentally injured.
He said that either the mother, father or grandmother caused the injuries - but was unable to break down a wall of silence to find who was responsible.
For that reason the children - both under two - were put up for adoption by Kirklees Council.
Social workers had tried to persuade the woman to reveal what happened, but she turned down a place in a women's refuge and chose to continue living with her family.
Now, the Appeal Court in London has been told that since the order for adoption, the mother - who is 10 years younger than her husband and was betrothed to him via an arranged marriage - had "broken free" from the family.
She aborted her third pregnancy and now lives in a refuge.
She says her husband was regularly drunk in charge of her oldest child and also says her mother-in-law was "cruel and violent".
Michael Harrison QC, for the mother, said she was locked out of the house in winter and was also "kidnapped" from her refuge in June.
The Appeal Court heard that the mother claims her father-in-law also mishandled the child. She says she was taken to a temple and made to swear on a holy text not to reveal what was going on in the house.
Her lawyers argued that her new evidence proved she was not the perpetrator of the injuries and the case should be re-opened.
And top judges agreed, setting aside the orders for adoption and ordering a re-hearing to try to establish who caused the injuries.
Lord Justice Wall, who heard the case with Lord Justice Neuberger, said the court should make "full allowance" for the cultural background to the case.
He added: "This mother is not uneducated or illiterate, but she is very young.
"She is a relative newcomer to this country and does not speak English. She was living in a household and a culture where, inevitably, her in-laws and husband dominated.
"We accept that if she is to maintain her stance, she faces substantial isolation, possible ostracism, and all the difficulties likely to be encountered by a single Sikh woman."
The court heard that in early 2003 the daughter was taken to hospital, where doctors concluded she had suffered non-accidental injuries, including a broken leg and haematomas.
No date was set for the fresh High Court hearing, which will be behind closed doors. Meanwhile, the children will stay in Kirklees Council care.