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The tiny baby who was left behind

THIS is the baby left behind in Portugal.

THIS is the baby left behind in Portugal.

A nurse holding a British baby (abandoned near Faro airport, Portugal - Mark Beddoes and Katherine Penny) 158

Baby Charles was left near Faro Airport by his mother, Katherine Penny, shortly before she left the country with her boyfriend, Huddersfield man Mark Beddoes.

Three-month-old Charles, who has a cleft lip, is pictured at a Faro orphanage where he is being looked after while Portuguese authorities decide whether to begin extradition proceedings against his parents to take them back there.

If they do, the couple may face court action in Portugal.

The tiny blue-eyed baby, who needs an operation on his lip, was found in a buggy on a housing estate near the airport on Sunday morning.

Only minutes later the couple caught a flight to Gatwick.

Mr Beddoes, 29, a former Shelley High School pupil who grew up in Upper Denby, and his partner, 24, of Basingstoke, spoke at length to Dorset police in Bournemouth on Tuesday.

Bournemouth detectives have taken no action against the couple so far over the baby.

But Miss Penny appeared before Bournemouth magistrates yesterday on motoring charges relating to an incident before she left for Portugal. She was fined £50.

Det Sgt Neil Claughton, of Dorset police force's child protection team, said the couple had been interviewed, and Mr Beddoes had left the police station under no obligation to return.

"This is an unusual and interesting case and we are seeking the advice of the Crown Prosecution Service," he said.

"We do not anticipate an early result with the inquiry."

Today a Home Office spokesman said they would consider any extradition request made by Portugal.

"The UK has a number of extradition agreements with countries around the world but our strongest links are with our European neighbours," he said.

"We could not speculate on whether or not we would grant it but we would consider it actively.

"We would give the opportunity for the two individuals to return to Portugal to answer any charges that may be put to them under their own volition rather than going down the route of extradition, which can be a protracted process. That is based on the presumption that they would put the child first."

Abandoning a child carries a maximum penalty of eight years in Portugal.

Baby Charles was last night described as "well" by the Foreign Office.

But Portuguese judge Manuel Marques said last night: "As he was abandoned, it would be difficult to return the baby to his parents.

"Relatives may apply for custody but they would have to provide credentials."

Mr Beddoes had worked in various bars and at a builders' merchant's in Huddersfield before moving to Bournemouth.

He later left the country to be a timeshare salesman in the Portuguese resort of Albufeira. Miss Penny also worked there.

Mr Beddoes's mother and stepfather, Margaret and Peter Harris, live in Upper Denby.

His father, Alan Beddoes, lives in Skelmanthorpe.

None was available for comment today.

Mr Beddoes maintains that he was "duped" by Miss Penny into thinking that their child had been safely put into care.

He agreed to the measure because the couple were "desperate for money".

He told a newspaper that he promised to return to Portugal to be reunited with the baby.

Mr Beddoes also claimed he did not know Miss Penny was pregnant until she went into labour.

Today Portuguese authorities claimed the couple had repeatedly refused medical treatment for Charles.

Capt Edmundo Emilio, a police spokesman in Albufeira, said police had forced the couple to take the baby to see a doctor on several occasions.


Doug Thomson
Huddersfield Town correspondent
Chris Roberts
Huddersfield Giants correspondent
Louise Cooper
Crime correspondent
Nick Lavigueur
Health Correspondent
Joanne Douglas
Local Government Correspondent
Linda Whitwam
Education Correspondent
Henryk Zientek
Business Correspondent
Martin Shaw
Mirfield Correspondent