AFTER his seven-year-old son was snatched while on holiday in Greece, devoted dad Ian Lomax felt life was not worth living and tried to commit suicide.
Back in 1998, Christopher’s mum, Helen, snatched the couple’s son as her husband lay sleeping, taking him to live in the port of Piraeus, near Athens.
She refused to return him, and Mr Lomax endured a long but unsuccessful battle in the Greek courts to get permission for Christopher to come home to Bolton.
Now, almost 15 years later, the 56-year-old has written a book which charts his journey, from meeting his future wife at a Corfu bar while on holiday, the breakdown of their relationship, the abduction, court cases, getting arrested in Greece, taking his plight to a top lawyer in Brussels and finally being reunited with Christopher, now aged 22.
Despite never having written a book before, he penned the emotional and gripping 60,000-word novel — For the Love of Christopher: A Father’s Tale — in just two weeks.
It is being published by a Prestwich-based company and is due for release in the summer.
Mr Lomax, of Smedley Avenue, Great Lever, said: “I just woke up one morning and thought: ‘I’m going to write a book’. I’m doing it as a legacy for my son and for the people who have been through the same things. It gives them hope. I’ve been through a lot.
“After it happened, I came home on the plane, on my own, with two empty seats.
“I stayed at my mum’s for six weeks. There were too many memories at my home.
“I didn’t go into Christopher’s room for three years.”
Difficult and emotional for Mr Lomax to write, the book tells how he tried to end his life with an overdose of aspirin while holding one of Christopher’s teddy bears at the family home in Alder Street, Great Lever.
With the help of his mother, Irene Walsh, who Mr Lomax has dedicated his book to, he found the strength to carry on the fight in the Greek courts.
In 2000, when Christopher was nine, Mr Lomax was given access to his son after the case was studied by expert international custody lawyers who ruled there had been a miscarriage of justice.
He said: “After what I’d been through, it was a magical moment. When I came out of court, I was just ecstatic.”
He was able to visit his son in Greece, but relations with his former wife and her family remained strained.
By the time Christopher was 16, Mr Lomax made the heart-breaking decision to quit his fight to be able to have his son visit England because it was causing the teenager too much pain.
Mr Lomax, who went to St Gregory's School in Farnworth, said: “It was so difficult saying goodbye to him all the time. He was a wreck, I was a wreck.”
Three years later, Mr Lomax contacted his son, then 19, and they have been able to build a relationship with Christopher visiting Bolton three times since 2010.
Mr Lomax, who works for Bolton Council’s enforcement department, said: “I let him grow for three years. He was stronger physically and mentally. He was able to live his own life.
“He was better for it and so was I.”
Mr Lomax has since remarried and has two other children with wife, Suzi: Amy Louise, aged 11, and Adam, aged nine. They have met their step-brother both in Greece and at home.
He said: “For the people who have been through the same as me, it gives them hope.”
Lionel Ross, from i2ipublishing, said he was so gripped by the story he could not put it down.
He said: “It shows other people who are in the same situation that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”