Edinburgh dad in Thailand jail for trying to rescue ‘kidnapped’ son

Jodie Smith, from Edinburgh, is in a Thailand jail for trying to whisk son Joleon, nine, back to Scotland.
Jodie Smith, from Edinburgh, is in a Thailand jail for trying to whisk son Joleon, nine, back to Scotland.

A dad is behind bars in a Thai jail after attempting to bring home his nine-year-old son he claims was “snatched” by his estranged wife.

Jodie Smith, 41, from Oxgangs, Edinburgh, was detained at Bangkok airport trying to bring son Joleon back to Scotland.

Jodie with Joleon

Jodie with Joleon

The carer managed to locate his son in a remote home of estranged wife Jintra Jummaimuang Smith, 31, who is accused of fleeing Scotland with their boy.

The father has now been charged with abduction and trespassing with distraught mum Lidia Smith, 67, now appealing for £5,000 to help pay legal fees in order to free her son.

He has been held in Sakon Nakhon Prison since Thursday.

Lidia told the Scottish Sun: “He was taken by his mum Jintra out of Britain without our knowledge in November and Jodie just wanted to get his son back.

Jodie has been charged with abduction and trespassing.

Jodie has been charged with abduction and trespassing.

“She’s getting off scot-free and yet my son is languishing in prison — we have no idea of the conditions.

“Jodie has been beside himself ever since Jintra took Joleon away, wondering where he is and if he will ever see him again.

“Losing my grandson has affected my health. Jodie tracked them down to a remote part of north Thailand via Facebook and he flew there when she refused to take his calls.”

Lidia also claims that Joleon was being looked after by his 10-year-old aunt and was carrying a foot injury.

She added: “When Jodie got there he found his son alone in the street outside the house.

“Jodie rang me after being reunited with Joleon and he was so happy to have found his son. He even sent me a photo of the two together smiling — I thought everything was OK.

“Joleon ran up to his dad’s car and Jodie later told me on the phone, ‘You should have seen the look on his face!’ Joleon was crying as he was so pleased to see his dad and they hugged each other.

“Jodie discovered Joleon being looked after by his 10-year-old aunt and he had a nasty injury to his foot after falling off his mother’s motorbike. She was nowhere to be seen.

“As soon as Joleon saw his dad he asked to go home as he didn’t want to stay there. So they entered the house just to get Joleon’s passport.

“Now Jodie has been arrested at Bangkok airport. He and his son were taken in a van back to the north of the country and he has been put in a prison.

“This isn’t justice. I just can’t believe this is happening to us. I just want my son and grandson back. This is a living nightmare.

“I don’t believe that any father who loves his child would just stand by for the rest of his life and do nothing after his flesh and blood just vanishes — yet he is now being jailed for trying to find his son.”

The pair got together in 2006 when Jodie was travelling for a year. She got pregnant after four months and they flew to the UK to have the baby, meaning Joleon was a British national.

The couple have been separated for six and a half years and shared custody.

Until November 30, Joleon was co-parented spending, on average, five nights a week with his father.

He was awarded full custody of his son on February 5 at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, meaning Joleon should be returned home to the Capital.

After hearing nothing from his ex, Jodie travelled to Thailand to rescue his son with Sean Felton, founder of charity Abducted Angels, who has also been arrested.

To donate to Lidia’s fundraiser, which had raised around £480 so far visit the JustGiving page.