By Bejay Browne
Paphos police yesterday issued an arrest warrant for a British woman who appears to have jumped bail and absconded with her young son for a second time.
Sarah Antoniou, 39, who was last year accused of plotting to hire two hitmen to kill her estranged husband, Andros, was also facing trial for previously absconding with five-year-old Alex.
She was recently released from prison in Nicosia after Attorney-general Petros Clerides, reviewed the case and reduced the attempted murder charge to a lesser conspiracy charge, enabling her to be released on bail after British MEP Stuart Agnew intervened to help.
The 37-year-old’s troubles began when her marriage to a Cypriot broke down and she returned to England with their then four-year-old son, Alex, for what she claimed to be medical treatment. This was treated as kidnapping by the Cypriot authorities, and she had to return Alex to the island. She is still facing charges relating to this incident.
According to her lawyer at the time, there were certain stipulations associated with her release on bail. These included being unable to leave the country, reporting regularly to Paphos police station and surrendering her travel documents, including her passport, to the police.
She was to have shown up at the police station on Tuesday but failed to appear.
Her distraught estranged husband Andros Antoniou told the Cyprus Mail yesterday: “This has gone too far now, this is the second time she has taken Alex; Sarah needs help and I just want my son back. I am appealing to the public to help me find him.”
According to Andros, his ex wife reported to the police station at 9am on Tuesday morning as required. He then saw her at court at 10.30am, for the case relating to the first alleged kidnapping of their son.
The ongoing case was again adjourned, as the accused woman said she had parted ways with her previous lawyer and needed time to brief her new one. She then picked up her son, who is now aged five, from school in Kissonerga and has not been seen since.
“She was supposed to return Alex to me at 6pm, but she didn’t. I have no idea where she is and no one; family or friends seem to have any more information,” said her ex husband.
The previous kidnap charges relate to an incident where Sarah Antoniou allegedly took her son to the UK via the north, despite the fact that he was on the stop list. She was forced to return him to Cyprus after an intervention by the British court.
Andros said that when Sarah didn’t show up on Tuesday, he contacted the police.
“We went to where she had been staying in Chlorokas, but Sarah and my son had vanished.”
According to Andros, his ex wife sold her car more than a month ago and had been driving a hire car since then. “She recently changed this to a bigger vehicle and this too has disappeared. I spoke to the rental company who obviously want their car back.”
Andros said that the passport number Sarah had written on the rental agreement was not that of her current passport and believes this may be a clue for police.
He said: “ A couple of weeks ago Alex came home and told me he had decided to call himself Max, and now I’m wondering if Sarah had been plotting to change their names all along.”
Sarah and Alex are both on the stop list.
Andros has been in contact with members of Sarah’s family who say they have no idea where she is. In addition, Sarah’s aunt had put up her apartment as a guarantee to meet the conditions of her bail.
“Her aunt was panicking, as her apartment has been used for collateral for Sarah’s bail,” said Andros. He said he would be contacting the Attorney-general.
“I want him to do whatever it takes to get Alex back. It’s his fault that Sarah was allowed to be in a position to do this again,” he said. ”She’s out on bail and now she is a wanted criminal.”
Andros says he’s now waiting for the police to inform him what course of action they will take.
The head of Paphos CID, Klitos Erotoklitou said yesterday: “We have made the ports and airports aware that both the mother and son are not permitted to leave Cyprus.”
Erotoklitou confirmed that police have Sarah’s current passport in their possession.
The Cyprus Mail contacted Stuart Agnew, currently in Europe, who pushed for Sarah’s release from prison whilst awaiting trail to inform him that Sarah appeared to have vanished.
He said: “I’m aware that she felt there were problems with her social worker but I urged her to play the game. She has stepped out of line before and this is not the news I wanted to hear, if in fact she has absconded.”
Agnew pointed out that there is a ‘huge bond between a mother and child, which can lead to individuals taking desperate measures.’ He said: “I can’t read Sarah’s mind but she obviously felt that she would lose her son and if she has left, she has done the wrong thing.”
Agnew pointed out that Sarah’s actions were covered by the Hague convention and that if she didn’t re appear, she would be a “wanted woman”.
Facebook: Help find Alex Antoniou