Roma camp want 'Maria' back

The family at the Roma camp in Greece where a mystery blonde girl, known as Maria, was found have told ITV News they want her back. A couple have been charged with abduction and procuring false documents.

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Roma couple lawyer: Girl was adopted, not abducted

Constantinos Katsavos said his legal team is attempting to find the girl's mother to prove his clients' innocence. Credit: ITV News

A lawyer for a Roma couple accused of abducting a young girl in Greece has told ITV News they were given her as a baby, when she was five days' old, as part of an adoption.

Constantinos Katsavos said the child was passed to the couple by her mother, an impoverished Bulgarian women, and that by finding her it will prove them not guilty of abducting a minor.

"It is our effort to find the physical mother," Mr Katsavos said. "If the mother is found I think (the verdict against the couple) will be not guilty."

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Roma couple in mystery girl case in court tomorrow

by Lewis Vaughan Jones in Athens

The Roma couple in Greece who were found with a four-year-old girl, whose identity remains a mystery, will appear in court tomorrow afternoon.

The couple, a 39-year-old man and a 40-year-old woman, are accused of falsifying identity and family certificates.

Police have launched a very large investigation into any possible wider consequences and will start with the 14 children that are connected to this couple.

Meanwhile, the charity that is looking after the four-year-old girl want the case to be widened to an international police investigation.

They claim to have had information in the past that children in these communities have been allegedly trafficked for use in begging and sold on for adoption.

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Ben Needham: police say no new investigation after girl found in Greece

South Yorkshire Police say there is no "direct correlation" between Ben Needham's disappearance and a girl found in Greece.

The girl is suspected to have been abducted after the couple claiming to be her parents turned out not to be related after a DNA test.

She was discovered in a Roma gypsy camp, where there had been a reported sighting of Ben who disappeared from a Greek island 21 years ago.

"South Yorkshire Police is aware of the case currently being investigated by Greek police after a young girl was found at a Roma settlement in the country.

"At this stage there appears to be no direct correlation between this and the disappearance of Ben Needham, who was 21 months old when he went missing on the island of Kos in 1991.

"The case of Ben Needham continues to be investigated by the Greek authorities and South Yorkshire Police continues to support his family.

"No investigation is currently being carried out by the force in light of this recent case and officers from South Yorkshire Police will only become involved should authorities in Greece require our assistance."

– South Yorkshire Police spokesman

Watch: exclusive interview with Kerry Needham urging Greek police to look for Maria case links

Report: Kerry Needham believes Ben held in Gypsy camp

The family of missing Ben Needham were given fresh hope last night after claims their son was held by gypsies in the same camp a four-year-old girl was rescued from this week, according to the Sunday Mirror.

His mother Kerry Needham, 41, said: “The authorities in Greece always told us, 'Gypsies don’t steal babies’. Now we know they do. We are very optimistic this new information may help us find Ben.”

Kerry Needham arrived in Kos as the search for Ben continues Credit: ITV Calendar

The claims come from Andonis Bedzios who had gone to the remote camp in Larissa, central Greece, to search for his own son when he saw a child matching Ben’s description.

The account is one of a string of links between the Greek travelling community and the disappearance of the 21-month-old toddler from Greek island Kos in 1991.

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Four-year-old mystery girl was 'loved and cared for'

A man calling himself Kostas, who Greek broadcaster Skai TV said was the brother of the 39-year-old male charged with abducting a four-year-old girl, said she was very loved and cared for.

A man calling himself Kostas, who Greek broadcasters said was the brother of the male charged with abducting a girl. Credit: APTN

"We got this girl in a very nice way. We raised her. We got her. She was given to us and we raised her," he said.

"She had problems with her eyes. We took her to the doctor, we took her everywhere. We didn't take her to sell her. We loved her so much, with so much passion, to doctors, to paediatricians, to so many doctors," Kostas said.

Greek mayor urges awareness over children's wellbeing

Farsala mayor Aris Karahalios has said society should do more to be aware of others' wellbeing especially that of children, in their community, after a four-year-old girl, who was allegedly snatched, was found living in a Gypsy settlement.

"We must all realise that we have responsibilities to be aware, to participate and to help. We want a society of solidarity - that is currently missing," Karahalios said.

Farsala mayor Aris Karahalios Credit: APTN

Roma community: Unidentified girl well looked after

Giorgos Tsakiris, the general secretary of the Roma association in the central Greek town of Farsala, has said a four-year-old blonde girl, found living in a Gypsy settlement had a good life with the people who were raising her.

Mr Tsakiris said: "She spent her days well. I can tell you better than her other siblings, the biological ones. She spent her days very well and that is why the little girl loves them and what they say about abductions is not true."

Giorgos Tsakiris, general secretary of the Roma association Credit: APTN

Read: Search under way for parents of mystery four year-old girl

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