The Norwegian man who abducted his four-year-old daughter from Cyprus last April surrendered to police in Norway on Monday after lengthy negotiations.
According to Norway’s VG News, 48-year-old Torkel Grimsrud was charged with child abuse after abducting Marie Eleni on April 27.
The four-year-old was at a child centre on Monday and was being looked after welfare officers, VG News said. Her mother, Eleni Ioannou, 48, was on the way to Norway, according to her lawyer Larris Vrahimis.
“I spoke to the family, the mother is on the way to Norway,” the lawyer told the state broadcaster.
He said they had information since Friday about the possibility of the father surrendering on Monday.
VG said Torkel’s attorney, Mette Yvonne Larsen, released a news release saying he had surrendered now because the child’s mother had agreed to a dialogue on future cooperation, which entailed contact with both of her parents.
“It is and has always been our client’s wish that his daughter should have a normal and good life in which she has contact with both of her parents,” Larsen said.
Marie-Eleni was abducted outside her kindergarten in Dasoupoli, Nicosia, after a custody battle between her parents. Her father’s lawyer said later that the girl had been taken by Grimsrud himself.
The whereabouts of the father and child had been unknown since the abduction. A European and international arrest warrant was issued for Grimsrud in May.
Seven people had been arrested in connection with the abduction but were later released
In May, the Norwegian supreme court rejected another appeal for custody filed by Grimsrud on the grounds that the girl’s country of residence had never been Norway and he needed to file the appeal in Cyprus.
In August, an Oslo court ordered the immediate return of four-year-old Marie Eleni to her mother.
Ioannou had met Grimsrud in Cyprus and following a mostly long-distance relationship, they got married in 2012. Marie was born on April 30, 2013.
Marie was born in Norway on the insistence of her father, who felt that she would be entitled to more benefits that way. Two months later, Ioannou returned to Cyprus with her baby, and has been living on the island since. Marie speaks Greek and a bit of English but no Norwegian.
Her father travelled to Cyprus five to six times a year to visit. Marie and her mother would also travel to Norway three to four times a year.
According to the family, Grimsrud had been telling everyone he would go on early retirement so that he could move permanently to Cyprus and be with his family, as per the couple’s agreement before getting married.
But everything changed when Grimsrud, withheld Ioannou’s and his daughter’s passports, forbidding them to leave the country when they last visited him on October 2015 for four days, at his request, to celebrate his birthday and visit a theme park.
The move reportedly caught Ioannou off guard as nothing until that moment led to her think that Grimsrud was not happy with their arrangement.
It was only after the intervention of Ioannou’s family and friends who contacted Cypriot authorities which issued an order for the immediate return of Marie and her mother to Cyprus, that they managed to come back via Sweden, 15 days later.
The father then reported that his daughter had been abducted by Ioannou, but the claim was dismissed by authorities.
Since that incident and until her abduction this year, Marie remained in Cyprus and communicated with her father through Skype. The Cypriot court ruled that she should live in Cyprus with her mother. It also issued an order stipulating that she could travel outside the country only with the mother’s consent.