'Cruel beyond imagination': Father back in jail for refusing to tell mother where daughter is living

Egyptian Tamer Salama removed Elsa Salama from care of English mother while all three were visiting Egypt, High Court told

A teacher who refuses to tell his ex-wife where their six-year-old daughter is living was today back in jail after a High Court judge described his behaviour as "cruel beyond imagination".

Egyptian Tamer Salama, 35, of Southampton "removed" Elsa Salama from the care of her English mother, Naomi Button, 39, of Leeds, while all three were visiting Egypt in December 2011, the High Court has heard.

The girl is thought to be with his family in Egypt and Ms Button has not seen or heard from her for more than 18 months.

Ms Button, a leadership consultant, took legal action after Elsa vanished and Salama was jailed for breaching High Court orders to arrange the girl's return to England or to reveal where she was.

He was initially imprisoned in January last year, then in January this year a judge ruled that he should stay in jail because he was continuing to breach orders. On Tuesday another judge imposed a further six-month term after concluding that he was still in contempt.

Mr Justice Roderic Wood said he had no doubt that Salama could "cause" Elsa's return "should he wish to do so".

"He was shifty, evasive and plainly dishonest," said the judge after hearing evidence from Salama at a High Court hearing in London which began on Monday. "The egregious acts of the father are cruel beyond imagination."

Mr Justice Roderic Wood added: "This father has not even had the decency to offer provision of even the most basic information about the welfare of this little girl."

And he went on: "I can only imagine the distress of the child as her mother disappeared from her life."

The judge also said Salama should compensate Ms Button for the money she had spent on litigation.

He heard that she had run up bills of about £25,000 in her fight to find Elsa and said he could see no reason why Salama should not pay "every penny".

Salama had told the judge that it was "beyond his control" to comply with High Court orders because his family had "closed ranks" on him and moved homes. The judge said he did not believe Salama.

Ms Button said after the hearing Salama had been a physics teacher. She said he had taught in Egypt and had been re-training to gain teaching qualifications in the UK.