The case has now caused an international row.

The case has now caused an international row. Photo: Supplied

An Italian woman whose baby was put up for adoption in Britain says she is "suffering like an animal" and wants to be reunited with her daughter. 

The woman, known as A for legal reasons, gave her first public account of how she was declared mentally incompetent, sedated and had her baby taken from her after she suffered a breakdown on a trip to Britain. According to a statement issued by Essex County Council, the mother had been detained under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act on June 13, 2012. 

Social services in the English county of Essex applied for an interim care order after the baby was born in August last year by caesarean section. The c-section had been ordered by a court after application from the Health Authority.

The case has now caused an international row, with members of the Italian and British parliaments raising concerns.

On Tuesday the woman’s lawyer described what had happened as "the stuff of Hitler’s regime", while the woman said doctors operated without warning.

"The day of the delivery I thought they were moving me from one room to another, while I was saying I wanted to return to Italy," she told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

"Then I was sedated. And when I woke up she was no longer there. They had taken her. They forced me to do the caesarean without telling me anything."

Essex County Council disputes this account and has issued a statement saying ‘‘the mother was able to see her baby on the day of birth and the following day’’.

The council also points out that the mother has ‘‘two other children which she is unable to care for due to orders made by the Italian authorities’’. The council also says it ‘‘liaised extensively with the extended family before and after the birth of the baby, to establish if anyone  could care for the child’’.

The woman was in Britain for a training course when she was taken ill while pregnant. She was then detained under the Mental Health Act and the operation was carried out after the health authority obtained an order from the Court of Protection. Essex county council said the decision was in the woman’s best interests because she had bipolar disorder. A judge ruled that the child, known as P, should be put up for adoption in Britain.

However, A is now fighting for the courts to give permission for relatives to care for her child - now 15 months old - in Italy.

Stefano Oliva, her lawyer, said: "To snatch children from their own family has happened in history, under other regimes in which there was no democracy - think of the Hitler Youth."

Maria Edera Spadoni, an Italian MP, said: "It is something unbelievable that an Italian woman would be put under medication and when she wakes up she didn’t have a baby - that is just unbelievable."

John Hemming, the MP for Birmingham Yardley, tabled a motion in Parliament relating to "failures of Essex county council in terms of communication with foreign institutions". He questioned why there had apparently not been an attempt to allow the father to participate in the case and why the grandmother, who is already looking after two of the woman’s children, couldn’t look after a third.

CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this story said that social services had received a court order to forcibly remove the baby in order that the infant could be put up for adoption. This is inaccurate. According to court documents, it was the Health Authority that sought the caesarean section on clinical grounds. Once Baby P was born, social services requested an interim care order. Italian courts in May rejected the mother’s application for the baby to be sent to Italy. In October this year Essex County Council received permission to place the baby up for adoption. The council’s statement can be seen here.

Telegraph, London