MONTREAL - A British mother who allegedly abducted her daughter and brought her to Canada will be extradited to the United Kingdom — ending the woman's three-year, multi-country journey.
Police allege Helen Gavaghan kidnapped her daughter in 2008, a high-profile case that kicked off searches in Mexico, the United States and Canada.
The hunt ended Sept. 16, when police arrested Gavaghan in Montreal and reunited the seven-year-old girl, Pearl, with her father in Manchester, England.
Gavaghan appeared in a Montreal courtroom on Friday and consented to her own extradition. The order is expected to be carried out as soon as it's signed by Canada's justice minister.
Her lawyer and her Canadian friends say she wants leave the country quickly, so she can be closer to her daughter.
The Quebec Superior Court judge asked the mother Friday if she was sure she did not want to fight extradition to the U.K., where she faces a charge of child abduction.
"That's right," replied Gavaghan, whose dark hair had been dyed blond. The woman had also been using false names for herself and her daughter over the last three years to evade authorities.
In recent days, Gavaghan has also been trying to get her side of the story into the media.
Her Canadian supporters issued a news release Friday and made an online blog posting of what they say is a transcript of a statement she dictated to them Thursday over the phone from jail.
In the lengthy dispatch, Gavaghan alleges she and her daughter had no choice but to flee an abusive situation with the girl's father, Henry Da Massa.
The father, who had joint custody of the child, has denied in published reports ever abusing Gavaghan or Pearl.
A handful of Gavaghan's friends, some with their kids, also showed up Friday at the Montreal courthouse to support the woman.
Gavaghan scanned the courtroom gallery several times from the defendant's box, flashing a few smiles and mouthing the word, "hello."
As she was led away from her court appearance, she lifted her handcuffed hands and waved goodbye.
The gesture brought tears to the eyes of her friend Andrea Beverley.
Beverley, who has known Gavaghan for about a year, said the mother didn't fight the extradition because she wants to be closer to her daughter.
"I look forward to the day that they'll be reunited," said Beverley, who has spoken to Gavaghan since her arrest.
"As a mother, she felt she had no choice but to take the extreme measure she did to leave the U.K. with her daughter in order to protect her daughter from an abusive situation with the father."
She started hanging out with Gavaghan because their kids played together at the same Montreal park.
"She's a great mother — very devoted to her daughter, very caring," said Beverley, who also hosted Gavaghan at her place for dinner a few times.
But Beverley said she knew little about Gavaghan's past until the arrest. She added that she thought Gavaghan's real name was Eve and the girl's was Krista.
Gavaghan, who worked part-time as a housecleaner in Montreal, had also gone by the assumed name of Dana Flaherty and Pearl was called Belle.
Montreal police arrested Gavaghan after receiving a tip from a subway passenger, who noticed the mother's suspicious behaviour.
Gavaghan was detained by authorities and the girl was handed over to social-services workers before being reunited with Da Massa on Sept. 21.
The arrest marked the end of a three-year search by Da Massa, who had relocated to Toronto in 2010 to be more actively involved in the efforts to find his daughter.
The hunt for Pearl began in December 2008, when Gavaghan allegedly picked her daughter up from a daycare in Manchester. They never returned.
A friend claimed the mother and daughter were headed to India for a month's vacation, but the pair were tracked to Cancun, Mexico. Three weeks later they crossed the border on foot to Laredo, Tex.