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Suffolk man flies to China ahead of custody hearing for grandchildren

PUBLISHED: 10:42 17 December 2018 | UPDATED: 10:42 17 December 2018

Ian Simpson  is fighting to bring his grandchildren back to the UK after his son was murdered in March 2017 Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Ian Simpson is fighting to bring his grandchildren back to the UK after his son was murdered in March 2017 Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

A Suffolk man fighting to bring his grandchildren back to the UK after his son was murdered in China is gearing up for his court battle.

Ian Simpson with grandchildren Jack and Alice Picture: SUPPLIED BY THE SIMPSON FAMILYIan Simpson with grandchildren Jack and Alice Picture: SUPPLIED BY THE SIMPSON FAMILY

Ian Simpson, from Hartest, near Bury St Edmunds, flies to Shanghai today ahead of the custody hearing – which begins on Thursday, December 20, in Nanzhang, central China.

Mr Simpson’s son Michael, 34, who was working as an executive for Next in Shanghai, was stabbed to death by his estranged wife Weiwei Fu – who has been jailed for life for the murder in March 2017.

The couple’s children – Jack, seven, and Alice, six – have been taken to live in the Hubei district of the country by their maternal grandparents.

Mr Simpson, 69, and his ex-wife Linda – Michael’s mother – have been fighting for months to get their grandchildren back to the UK following their son’s murder.

Michael Simpson with children Jack and Alice Picture: SIMPSON FAMILYMichael Simpson with children Jack and Alice Picture: SIMPSON FAMILY

The couple have tried to reach a deal by promising to pay regular visits to China and stay in contact with Weiwei’s parents.

They were also prepared to offer official ‘forgiveness’, and not pursue a civil claim, in exchange for custody of the children.

But despite the fact ‘forgiveness’ could have seen Weiwei’s sentence cut in half – no deal was done.

Speaking to the EADT at the beginning of the month, Mr Simpson said: “It’s been very frustrating and very emotional as it’s been such a long process to get to this point.

Michael Simpson with children Jack and Alice Picture: SIMPSON FAMILYMichael Simpson with children Jack and Alice Picture: SIMPSON FAMILY

“But it’s also very nerve-racking as there is no appeal following this decision.

“I think we’ve got a lot on our side. All the paperwork is there, but it’s not good getting your hopes up because we know that it could all go against us.

“To lose would just be heart-breaking, devastating and horrendous.”

Mr Simpson has hired a translator in Shanghai who will make the trip to rural China for the hearing as there are no translators available in the province.

If no deal can be agreed on December 20 in the evidence exchange process then the case will enter into a court session the following day.

If the hearing does progress to the court session then it could be at least another month before a decision is reached.

A crowdfunding page started by a neighbour of Mr Simpson has raised more than £4,500 for legal costs.

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