McEwan's new plea for son

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The Independent Online
THE NOVELIST Ian McEwan told a French court he would drop a claim for pounds 15,000 in legal fees if his former wife returned their 13-year- old son.

Mr McEwan, appearing yesterday in a Brittany court, also asked the judge to uphold an English court order giving him sole custody of the children of his first marriage to Penny Allen. The judge declined and agreed to Ms Allen's request for more time to prepare her case.

A date was set for Thursday, when the Guingamp court would rule under the Hague Convention, which respects orders relating to children made by signatory countries' courts. An application by Mr McEwan to prohibit any more reporting of the case was rejected.

He also asked the court to ask Ms Allen to allow their son to spend the weekend with him in his Brittany hotel. The judgegave Ms Allen an hour to contact the boy but he could not be reached at Ms Allen's French home and will probably now not join Mr McEwan.

After the hearing Ms Allen said she had no intention of accepting Mr McEwan's offer to drop his claim for court and travel costs in return for surrendering their son.