Cork extradition hearing nears end

Final arguments are to be heard today in the case of a Cork couple fighting US attempts to extradite them on charges of kidnapping their grandson two years ago.

Final arguments are to be heard today in the case of a Cork couple fighting US attempts to extradite them on charges of kidnapping their grandson two years ago.

Tim and Ethel Blake, both 60, are wanted by authorities in Illinois for the aggravated kidnapping of their then nine-year-old grandson, Dylan, in July 2004.

The pair, from Lower Midleton Street in Cobh, Co Cork, were locked in an international tug-of-love battle with their daughter Serena Benwell when they took the boy from his new home in Winthrop Harbor, north of Chicago.

Both are facing a maximum 30-year prison sentence for the alleged offence if convicted in Illinois.

The young boy had previously lived with his grandparents in Cork, but was taken by his mother when she moved to the States to marry a US naval officer.

The child, who is now 12, returned to live in the US with his mother, stepfather, three older brothers and younger sister in November 2004 after his mother invoked the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction.

Closing submissions in the two-day extradition hearing are to be heard before Mr Justice Michael Peart in the High Court.

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