ByScott McCann, writer at
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Scott McCann

In a desperate attempt to find his daughter, a man turned to an ex-special forces soldier to track her down in true Liam Neeson Taken style.

Initially going through the courts and legal route, Craig Michael won two court orders to have his daughter returned, but his ex-wife ignored them. Instead his daughter Crystal was taken to Poland illegally by his estranged ex-wife, leaving Craig no option but to turn to desperate measures.

After two years and a hefty £35,000 in bills, Craig hired the services of a former soldier and together they meticulously planned a rescue, reminiscent of scenes from Liam Neesons Taken.

Michael & Adam Whittington
Michael & Adam Whittington

Flying into Poland, the pair tracked down Crystal before Craig Michael grabbed her off the street taking her to a waiting car, whilst Adam Whittington fended the grandfather off by spraying pepper spray on to his chest. After this the duo crossed the southern border into Czech Republic and then into Austria to catch a flight home.

Speaking on the incident Craig admits that it was extreme, but the desperate situation he found himself was largely due to the failure of the courts.

It’s extreme but the court and the Hague Convention had let me down. Everything we did was legal because we had the court order.
I promised her I’d get Crystal back. Keeping that promise was important. It’s what she asked for every birthday and Christmas.
The happy family & Whittington
The happy family & Whittington

Admittedly, the event itself was rather lacking in its subtlety and Hollywood glamour. To any passer by, the rescue would of looked like a child abduction in broad daylight. Yet what it did have worthy of a Hollywood story, was the love of a father and sister, and absolute determination to find his daughter no matter the odds.

After arriving in Vienna, Austria, Michael and Whittington went to the Cypriot embassy where emergency travel documents were arranged so that Crystal could fly back home with her father. Waiting for them at the airport in Cyprus was ­Crystal’s delighted sister Castalia.

As soon as they saw each other, they just ran into each other’s arms, they couldn’t speak to each other but they recognised each other and they were both grinning.
It’s one of those moments that I’ll treasure for ever.

Since the incident, Crystal has started back at school and is relearning English again. In May this year, Marta pleaded guilty to child abduction and received an 18-month suspended sentence from a judge in Cyprus.

The dramatic set of events will air on ITV's Abducted next Tuesday.


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