Evicted Kilshaws intend to open boutique chain

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The Independent Online

The strange saga of Judith and Alan Kilshaw continues apace. They have been evicted and he promptly unveiled plans to open a chain of boutiques in eastern Europe.

The couple, who achieved notoriety after they tried to adopt twin baby girls through an internet agency, had their home in north Wales repossessed after running up legal bills of more than £60,000.

In April, a High Court judge decided the children should return to America four months after the Kilshaws had paid £8,000 to adopt them and brought them back to Britain in a blaze of publicity.

Their seven-bedroom farmhouse in Buckley, near Chester, had already been put up for sale but the couple were unable to settle arrears of £10,779 on their £152,000 mortgage.

As bailiffs moved in to take possession, Mr Kilshaw, whose wife made several outspoken defences of their actions, said he was beyond humiliation. "If you had asked me how I would feel about losing my house before all this, I would have thought I'd be embarrassed.

"But I don't feel embarrassment, because so much of our life is now public knowledge that you get past the point of embarrassment."

The 46-year-old solicitor said he was moving with his sons, Rupert, five, and James, eight, to a bungalow he owns in Chester.

Mrs Kilshaw, 48, who faced a series of claims about her private life during the custody battle, including an accusation that she was a witch, is spending several weeks in the Netherlands.

Her husband denied they had separated, and said she would return before Christmas and they would then set their sights on going into business in the former Eastern Bloc.

Mr Kilshaw said: "There are certain developing countries in Europe that are rapidly becoming Westernised and there are obviously opportunities in retail and other things." Asked about the type of sales opportunity he saw, he replied: "Wait and see. Kilshaw-chic boutiques. It could happen."

The couple adopted the twin girls last December after contacting a Californian "baby broker" who had advertised on the internet. They returned to a country hotel near Blackpool to a media scrum after their story appeared in a tabloid paper.

The babies were taken into foster care by Flintshire County Council, starting a high-profile custody battle punct- uated by public appearances and statement that turned the Kilshaws into objects of fascination and, often, ridicule.

They said they would drop the case after the twins were returned to Missouri, where their natural father, Aaron Wecker, and his estranged wife, Tranda, were seeking custody.

Mrs Kilshaw was unavailable for comment yesterday. Last month she said she was not worried about leaving north Wales but was concerned at the effect of the move on her animals.