A baby girl from Harrow abducted by her drug-abusing parents and taken to Spain in defiance of a High Court order should be placed in the care of her maternal grandparents, a judge ruled.

Farah Afzal, who is 12 months old, was spirited away to Barcelona in January by parents Zainab Rasul, 30, and Mohammed Afzal, 32, sparking an appeal by Harrow Council on the front page of the Observer in February for her safe return.

Read: Harrow baby thought missing in Spain returns to Britain

The family were eventually traced and flew back to Britain where care proceedings were initiated by the council and a criminal prosecution by the CPS.

Zainab Rasul, 30, took her four-month-old baby Farah from their home in Rayners Lane to Barcelona with husband Mohammed Afzal
 
Mohammed Afzal, 38, took his four-month-old baby Farah from their home in Rayners Lane to Barcelona with wife Zainab Rasul

Rasul and Afzal later admitted child abduction at Harrow Crown Court on April 11 and were sentenced on May 9 to identical 18-month jail terms, suspended for two years, with supervision and drug rehabilitation requirements.

Farah was placed in foster care and the council applied to the High Court for an order to put the girl up for adoption.

It has now emerged Mr Justice Keenan ruled against the application on November 18.

He said: "It will have been apparent to all that I have found this a very difficult case and a very difficult decision to make.

"Farah deserves the opportunity and the chance to be raised in her natural family.

"In this case, there are no perfect solutions. I have very firmly come to the conclusion that it is in Farah's welfare best interests that she should be placed in the care of her maternal grandparents, to be raised by them during her minority."

Farah Afzal, who was abducted by her parents and spirited away to Spain
Farah Afzal, who was abducted by her parents and spirited away to Spain
 

Mr Justice Keenan made a supervision order to allow the council to monitor Farah's placement with her maternal grandparents, Aliunnaki Rasul and Nazma Rasul, both 61, who live in the Rayners Lane area.

The maternal grandfather was actually imprisoned by the judge for contempt of court after lying under oath in a previous hearing.

Mr Justice Keenan said: "The parents are both drug abusers of longstanding.

"I am afraid the position was very graphically described by the maternal grandmother in her evidence when she told me that her daughter had had a choice between Farah or drugs and, in light of the most recent positive drug test, she had plainly chosen drugs. I agree."