A British boy has been reunited with his father after spending three years trapped in in a Middle East orphanage while his parents fought over who had custody of him.
The boy's father Charles said being able to hug 11-year-old son James was the 'best present ever' after a complex legal battle with his French ex-wife was finally settled.
The emotional moment when the boy ran into his father's arms at London's Heathrow Airport was caught on camera by his delighted family.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, Charles, 42, said: 'Words cannot describe what it feels like to have my son back home with me.
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Charles has been reunited with his son James after three years apart. James, 11, has been living in an orphanage since 2017 after refusing to live with his 'abusive' mother
Charles, 42, said: 'Words cannot describe what it feels like to have my son back home with me'
'The custody battle has cost me over £500,000 and at times my sanity, but I was never going to give up on my son.
'It is such a relief that I have him home with me and we can try and re-build our lives. This should never have taken so long but for the lies told by my ex-wife.'
James's ordeal began in August 2017, when, then aged nine, he was unwittingly used as a pawn in his parents' bitter custody battle.
Living with his father in Dubai after his parents' divorce in 2015, a court in France awarded his mother Ludvine, 37, full custody of the boy.
The father and son were torn apart in 2017 after a court in France awarded full custody to James' mother, Ludvine
But when French officials arrived in Dubai to take him back, James refused to get on the plane because he was fearful of his 'abusive' mother.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
As the two warring parents battled it out, he was taken to an orphanage 'with only the clothes he stood in' where he languished for the next three years.
Following a drawn out fight spanning three countries this month, another French court overruled the original decision and gave Charles full custody of his son.
After their emotional meeting, James told MailOnline: 'I am super happy. This is the most relaxed I have been for years. Now I am really excited and looking forward to the New Year with my dad.'
Charles, from Northumberland, England, said: 'James was adamant that he did not want to live with his mother, and I was not going to send him back. He was scared of her having suffered verbal and physical assaults.'
Charles added: 'I would have gone to prison for my son, but I would not have been any use to him there.
'James had made it very clear that he did not want to live