Illegal adoption claim could be probed by police

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A CRIMINAL probe could be launched into a South Tyneside woman’s claims she was adopted illegally.

Police have confirmed they are in contact with Dorothy Laybourn and are examining her allegations.

She has told officers she did not give her consent to be adopted in 1970 and her birth mother’s signature may have been forged.

Mrs Laybourn, 59, of Selkirk Street, on Jarrow’s Scotch Estate, contacted police after her lengthy attempts to uncover the truth stalled.

The mum-of-three has traced her adoption file to the archive section at Newcastle’s Discovery Museum.

But it can only be accessed on the instructions of a court – and her request has so far not been granted.

She believes any documents inside will bear the alleged signature of her birth mother, who died three years before the adoption.

Mrs Laybourn wants a court to rescind any adoption and reinstate her original birth record.

But her three-year search has so far only established that her original birth certificate was at some point stamped with the word ‘adopted’.

She said: “I’m very pleased that the police are looking at this, it is another step forward.

“I hope they will open an investigation so that I can get to the bottom of what happened.

“Crucially, I still need to gain access to my adoption file as that may hold the information I need.”

Corbridge-born Mrs Laybourn also claims there are discrepancies around her childhood in which she was taken into care aged one and fostered a year later.

Council chiefs in Northumberland, where she was looked after, say they have no record of her foster parents.

Her foster father died in 1967 and she believes it was her foster mother, who died in 1973, who may have adopted her.

In August 1970, just days before she turned 18, she recalls signing a possible adoption form at Jarrow Juvenile Court.

But the former factory worker insists she did so unwittingly and has questioned why she would do so so close to coming of age.

It was just eight years ago that a family member told her she had been adopted.

The General Register, in Southport, Lancashire, where adoption papers are held, has also said it has no record of her.

Northumbria Police confirmed it had been contacted by Mrs Laybourn.

A spokesman said: “We are in receipt of correspondence in relation to an allegation surrounding the circumstances of Mrs Laybourn’s adoption and this correspondence is currently being considered.”

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