New setback for Beth Alexander in custody battle for twins

Beth Alexander with her sons, Benjamin and Samuel

Beth Alexander with her sons, Benjamin and Samuel

A British mother fighting for custody of her four-year-old twin sons has been denied the right to take the case to the Austrian Supreme Court.

Beth Alexander had already lost a hearing and an appeal over the boys, who live in Vienna with her Austrian ex-husband, Michael Schlesinger.

Now, her application to have the case heard before Austria's highest court has been turned down.

She must now decide whether to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights, or face restarting proceedings from scratch.

The Manchester-born teacher has been involved in legal proceedings since last August, when custody of the twins was granted to Mr Schlesinger.

After receiving the Supreme Court’s decision, she said: “There were no hearings, it was all done on paper. It just said one word: 'denied' - it gave no other reason.

“There are no winners in this case, there are only losers. And my children are the biggest losers of all.”

Ms Alexander’s case will be debated in the House of Commons next week, when Labour MP Graham Stringer will ask Foreign Office minister David Liddington to lobby the Austrian authorities on her behalf.

Last month, a Board of Deputies delegation visited the Austrian embassy in London to voice their concerns over Ms Alexander’s treatment.

Following the Supreme Court’s decision, Board vice president Jonathan Arkush said: I’m sad for Beth. Her case has attracted widespread support not just from the British Jewish community but from fair-minded people across the world.

“There is a strong feeling that justice has not prevailed in Austria. The custody and access arrangements for the two boys of Beth and her ex-husband are self-evidently inadequate. The children deserve better and they are the real victims.”

Last updated: 3:34pm, January 9 2014