Daughter ‘better off with me’ says South Shields mum at centre of global police hunt

Lauren Etchells holding daughter Kaydance alongside former partner Tasha Brown
Lauren Etchells holding daughter Kaydance alongside former partner Tasha Brown
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A mother accused of having ‘abducted’ her daughter has hit out at ‘political correctness’ as she remains in hiding.

Lauren Etchells, originally from South Shields, is the subject of a global police hunt after she broke a court order and fled her Canadian home with 19-month-old daughter Kaydance, leaving former partner Tasha Brown distraught.

She flew from Canada to London with new partner Marco van der Merwe and their new-born child Marcus in May, but the pair are reported to no longer be in contact.

Lauren, 31, is now thought to be in either France or the Middle East.

In an email to The Times, she refused to give details of her location as she gave her side of the story.

She said: “This whole case has been about gay rights and not about what is good for my child,’ she said. ‘At some point the system needs to look at the straight facts and see that Kaydance is better off with me instead of getting blinded and caught up in political correctness and bureaucracy.

“Breaking up her family, separating her from her mother and brother and the man she knows as her father is going to do far more psychological damage to her than growing up not knowing… Miss Brown.”

Lauren - a teacher who left South Tyneside as a teenager to move to Qatar before later moving to Canada - married her partner Tasha Brown in August 2012 and now holds dual UK/Canadian citizenship.

In 2013, the couple decided to have a child and went through a donor process before Kaydance Etchells was born in September 2014.

The pair separated in July 2015. Kaydance was living with Lauren but was the subject of custody proceedings between the pair. In August 2015, as part of a court order, Lauren was told to surrender Kaydance’s UK passport, not to apply for a Canadian passport for the child and not to leave Vancouver Island, on the country’s west coast.

But back in April, Lauren went against the order and obtained a Canadian passport for her daughter.