High Court judge to ask Jeremy Hunt for help to find daughter of Leeds mum missing 'in Egypt'

Elsa Salama. Picture: PA.
Elsa Salama. Picture: PA.
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A High Court judge says he will ask Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt for help finding a 12-year-old British girl who has been missing for more than seven years and is thought to be in Egypt.

Mr Justice Mostyn said on Wednesday that he aimed to ask the Foreign Office to use all "diplomatic measures" to find Elsa Salama.

Elsa is at the centre of proceedings in the Family Division of the High Court in London and Mr Justice Mostyn is overseeing the latest stage of the litigation.

Judges have heard how Egyptian former teacher Tamer Salama took Elsa from her English mother Naomi Button in December 2011 while all three were visiting his relatives in Egypt.

Ms Button, a leadership consultant from Leeds, was forced to return to England alone.

She has not seen Elsa since.

Ms Button launched litigation after arriving back in the hope of getting Elsa home and is continuing that fight.

Salama, who subsequently returned to England without Elsa, was jailed in January 2012 for breaching judges' orders to arrange Elsa's return to England or to reveal where she was.

But a judge ordered his release in December 2013 after deciding that continuing to keep him in prison was no longer proportionate or justifiable.

Mr Justice Mostyn says he thinks that a formal approach to Mr Hunt should be made.

A judge has already made Elsa a ward of court - a move which gives judges the power to make decisions about a child's movements.

Judges have been told that Ms Button does not know where Elsa is but suspects that she is in Cairo with Salama's mother.

Salama, who lives in Manchester and has lived in Nottingham and Southampton, has told judges that Elsa is living with his mother in Cairo and beyond his control.

He says he does not know exactly where she is.

A judge overseeing the case six years ago described Salama as "shifty, evasive and plainly dishonest" and said his behaviour was "cruel beyond imagination".

Mr Justice Roderick Wood said, at a hearing in 2013, he had no doubt that Salama could "cause" Elsa's return "should he wish to do so".