‘Social workers stole my baby’: Forced caesarean mother tells of horrific ordeal

'I was crying. I could feel my baby kicking inside me. I begged them not to do the caesarean,' she says. Now, Alessandra Pacchieri’s baby is being put up for adoption against her will

Tomas Jivanda
Thursday 05 December 2013 11:15
Ms Pacchieri had her baby forcibly removed by caesarean section after suffering a mental breakdown
Ms Pacchieri had her baby forcibly removed by caesarean section after suffering a mental breakdown

The Italian mother who was forced to have a caesarean under general anesthetic after being sectioned under the mental health act has spoken out about her ordeal.

Named as Alessandra Pacchieri, after a judge ruled against Essex County Council’s attempt to prevent the publication of her name, she said: “I was crying. I could feel my baby kicking inside me. I begged them not to do the caesarean.”

“Your family courts and your social workers invaded my body and stole my baby. I believe that the British authorities planned to adopt my daughter from the very beginning.”

“Something very unfair has been done to me. I am fighting to get my daughter back and I never want another innocent mother in your country to suffer as I have,” she added, in an interview with the Daily Mail.

Ms Pacchieri was four months pregnant and staying at a hotel in Stansted Airport where she was training to become an air hostess when she became stressed and unwell.

She had stopped taking medication for her bipolar disorder over fears the drugs would harm her baby. After having a panic attack, she called the police for help and gave them the number of her mother in Italy who attempted to explain the situation.

She was then taken to hospital by police and sectioned by two psychiatrists under the Mental Health Act. The local health trust then filed a successful application to detain her as a patient and was later told by social workers from Essex council that her baby would go into care when she was born.

“I was freaking out. I had the feeling right away that they wanted to take my baby. I begged the doctors to let me go back to my country. I said I wanted to go to court to get it sorted out,” she said.

Then in August of last year she awoke to be told that she couldn’t eat as later that day she would be having a caesarean under general anaesthetic.

Yesterday it emerged that the Court of Protection granted an NHS trust permission for doctors to carry out the procedure last year “because of concerns about risks to mother and child”.

Mr Justice Mostyn said he made the ruling after doctors responsible for her treatment told him that Ms Pacchieri risked rupture if she was to give birth naturally.

Ms Pacchier described how she was separated from her daughter just a few hours after the birth, and after three days was informed that she had been taken into foster care.

In February this year, Judge Newton, sitting at Chelmsford County Court, ruled that although Ms Pacchieri's condition had improved and she was “extremely well” when she gave evidence, adoption was the best way to provide “a permanent, predictable and stable home” for the baby.

Essex County Council had argued adoption was “the only safe route”.

After returning to her home country she came back to Britain once a month to visit the child. This arrangement stood until May this year when social workers told her it would be the last time she would see her daughter, her lawyer said.

The president of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, has now ordered that any further applications relating to the baby must be transferred to the High Court.

This is likely to include applications by Ms Pacchieri to block her child's adoption in the UK, as well as possible intervention by the the Italian government.

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