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New abduction complaint against former Surrey mom

Woman who took children from Surrey to France back in court.
Nathalie Gettliffe and Scott Grant.

Once again, former Surrey resident Nathalie Gettliffe has been accused of kidnapping her own children.

But this time, the custody fight isn't over her Canadian-born son and daughter and it isn't with their father, Scott Grant, a financial planner who waged a trans-Atlantic custody battle to get his children back after Gettliffe took them to her native France 10 years ago in defiance of a court order.

Instead, Gettliffe, 39, is now battling her new husband, French journalist Francis Gruzelle, 50, over access to their two sons.

Late last year, French news outlets reported that Gruzelle filed a kidnapping complaint with French prosecutors after Gettliffe moved to another community and refused to allow him access to their children following their separation.

"Nine years almost to the day after the kidnapping of her two eldest children in Canada... Nathalie Gettliffe has done it again," Gruzelle complained in an e-mail sent to a French news agency (translated from the French).

"[Nathalie] reproduced the same scenario with me as with her ex-husband [Grant]."

The matter is now before the courts in France.

The father has won an interim order granting him visitation rights.

Gruzelle and Gettliffe became involved after she returned to France with her Canadian-born son Max and daughter Josephine in 2001.

Gruzelle was convicted by a French court of helping Gettliffe hide the children from French authorities when she was ordered to give them up. He was sentenced to two months in jail, but is appealing the verdict.

Gruzelle orchestrated a protest campaign in France against the return of Max and Josephine to Grant, who endured public vilification by many French media outlets who painted him as a religious fanatic and abusive, claims the courts ruled completely untrue.

B.C. Justice Marvyn Koenigsberg declared that that Gettliffe and Gruzelle resorted to "untruths and gross exaggerations" in order to win sympathy in France and alienate the children from their father.

Koenigsberg  described the many allegations made against Grant by Gettliffe and her supporters as "... such exaggerations of his conduct and interests that they bore no relation to the truth."

Now Gettliffe is making similar allegations against Gruzelle, accusing him of assaulting her in August of 2010, while he maintains it was Gettliffe who physically attacked him.

A French family court has ordered both parents to undergo psychiatric assessments.

Gruzelle may be getting a taste of his own medicine, but Grant isn't celebrating.

"The sad thing is, it's the children who suffer," Grant told The Leader.

After his son and daughter were taken, Grant obtained judgments in Canada and France giving him custody of his kids only to have them defied by Gettliffe.

He was finally reunited with his children in 2006, after Gettliffe was arrested when she returned to B.C. to complete her PhD degree at UBC.

At the time, she was pregnant with her second child by Gruzelle.

Gettliffe was charged and convicted of abducting her own children and spent several months in a minimum-security prison before she was allowed to return to France. She wrote a book about her experience.

Grant has since remarried and says both kids are doing well, that Josephine is a straight-A student and Max an avid athlete.

Both are "well-adjusted kids" despite their ordeal, Grant says.

They have not been to France to see their mother, but they speak to her regularly by phone.

After Gettliffe filed multiple legal applications against Grant following her return to France, his lawyer won an order requiring  her to appear in person to make any further filings.