- He flew four-year-old Caspar to his home on Sark, Channel Islands
- Gomoll and Caspar’s mother have been involved in a custody battle
- Sark law states the father has full custody if a couple are unmarried
By Sara Malm
A British man who kidnapped his son from his mother in Austria has revealed he took him to his home on the Channel Islands as the local laws do not give unmarried mothers right to custody for children born out of wedlock.
Millionaire lawyer Stefan Gomoll snatched his four-year-old son Caspar and took him by private jet to the island of Sark in October last year.
Mr Gomoll has been involved in a bitter custody row with Caspar’s mother Dominique Ruggaber, who is of German descent but living in Austria, where a local court awarded her sole custody last year.
Gomoll is a Sark resident and also a chairman of the island’s Finance and Commerce Committee.
In October last year, he visited Ms Ruggaber, from whom he has been separated since April 2012, in Baden, Lower Austria, demanding to see Caspar.
Ms Ruggaber allowed Mr Gomoll to take Caspar to a nearby playground under the premise that her father, Caspar’s maternal grandfather, accompanied them.
Distressed: Caspar’s mother Dominique Ruggaber had been awarded sole custody by an Austrian court.
However, when the older man went to the bathroom, Mr Gomoll grabbed the boy and drove to the airport where he left on a private plane before police could act to put out an alert.
Once back in Sark he filed an application for custody under the islands archaic laws, which state that as he and Ms Ruggaber never married, he is entitled to sole custody.
This is now to be heard at the Supreme Court in the Channel Islands, and until then the youngster has to remain in Sark.
The mother’s lawyer Britta Schönhart said: ‘The father has appealed the decisions which have so far been in the mother’s favour, but until the final ruling nothing counts.
‘Until that happens the mother and child are not allowed to leave the island. It is difficult because the financial resources are not unlimited and she now has to stay in Sark.’
Mr Gomoll and Ms Ruggaber split in April 2012 and she returned to Austria to live with the child near her parents in Baden.
In February last year, Ms Ruggaber returned to the Channel Islands, but left again in August after Mr Gomoll threatened to send Caspar to boarding school.
Mr Gomoll faces child abduction charges in Austria and the prosecutor in Wiener Neustadt is investigating the case.
As both Caspar’s passports, he has joint German and British nationality, were with Ms Ruggaber when he was seized, Austrian police are also investigating how Mr Gomoll managed to get the boy onto the plane without a passport.
Worried: Ms Ruggaber moved to Baden to be close to her parents, pictured, and Mr Ruggaber, Caspar’s grandfather, left, was at the playground when he was taken
Caspar was taken from the town of Baden in Austria and turned up in Guernsey in the Channel Islands. His father is based in the nearby island of Sark