Children 'used by parents as puppets' should be placed for adoption

Two children whose destitute illegal immigrant parents were accused of using them as "puppets" in a fight to get state cash should be placed for adoption in Britain, a judge has ruled.

Mr Justice Keehan says adoption will be in the "welfare best interest" of the children - who are seven and five.

He said adoption would give the youngsters some "stability, security and permanence".

Detail of the case has emerged in a ruling by the judge following a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

He has not identified anyone involved, but indicated that the family had lived in Birmingham.

Both parents were of "south Indian origin" and had arrived in the UK about 13 years ago, said the judge.

The woman had "over-stayed" after arriving legitimately - there was "no record" of the man's entry - and both had made unsuccessful applications for permission to stay.

Three years ago, the family had become destitute and council social workers had been alerted to their plight.

Social services staff had made the youngsters the subject of a "child in need plan" and provided financial support.

But the couple become embroiled in "conflict" with social workers - thinking that council staff should provide "wholly" for the family.

At one point the man had threatened to jump off a bridge with the children if a "new house and financial assistance to the level he sought" was not provided.

The couple had used the children "directly to demand money" and had hidden the youngsters in cupboards to stop social workers seeing them.

They had also "coached" one child to make false allegations of sexual abuse against school staff and social workers.

Mr Justice Keehan said social workers thought that the youngsters had been "puppets" in a "war of attrition".

The judge indicated that the man was still in England but he said the woman was living abroad.

He said the man had been against the children being placed for adoption.

The man said neither he nor the children's mother had "ever harmed" them. He said the children had been loved and cared for.

Mr Justice Keehan said the youngsters had been taken from home more than a year ago and placed with a "culturally appropriate" foster carer.