Judge used 'tourist Italian' to talk to girl at centre of parental dispute

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A High Court judge has told how he spoke a few words of ''tourist Italian'' during a meeting with a multilingual 11-year-old girl from Italy who is at the centre of a dispute between her separated parents.

Mr Justice Hayden said the girl was born in Latvia and had lived in Italy with her Italian father and Latvian mother.

The mother brought her to England last year to live in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, but her father wanted her returned to Italy.

Mr Justice Hayden concluded she should go back to Italy with her mother so Italian judges could make decisions about where she lived.

The judge explained in a ruling how met he the girl privately while overseeing a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London, after she said she wanted to stay in England.

He said the ''delightful'' youngster spoke Italian, English and Latvian fluently and told him she found school in England ''much easier'' than in Italy.

The 56-year-old judge, who was based in Manchester when a barrister, said he had spoken a few words of ''tourist Italian'' to her, and added: "She told me that Italy was a good place to go for a holiday but not to live.''

He said she could not be identified.