A MOTHER who refused to press charges against her boyfriend despite enduring a catalogue of violence failed yesterday in an Appeal Court bid to stop her children being put up for adoption.

The woman, in her twenties, from County Durham, fled to a women's refuge after suffering serious incidents of domestic violence at the hands of her lover, who is four years her senior.

In once incident, a tendon in her hand was severed with a knife and, in another, he attacked her with a hammer.

Although social workers spotted her with bruises on her face, she refused to make any formal complaint to police.

Yesterday, three Appeal Court judges upheld Durham County Council's right to sever contact between the mother and her young children - with a view to having them adopted.

They are currently with foster carers and the mother is allowed to see them twice a week.

The mother had obtained a non-molestation injunction against the man, who is father of all three children, and told the court she had not seen him since April.

Her counsel, Miss Margaret De Haas QC, argued she was the victim and urged she be given one last chance to prove herself a good mother.

But Lord Justice Thorpe, sitting with Lord Justice Laws and Mr Justice Morland, said the children's interests were paramount.

The judge said the couple had not lived together because the father is often in prison for offences involving dishonesty or drugs.

He said that the judge who decided the case at Middlesbrough County Court, in October, acted on evidence that she was still involved with the man.

Lord Justice Thorpe added that the mother had missed six out of 15 possible visits with the children, raising anxiety over her responsibility.

"If the judge had been satisfied that the relationship was truly at an end, he could have looked at the violence as being historic.

"But, if he saw that relationship was likely to erupt again, as soon as the pressure of the case had diminished, then obviously it is his responsibility to act for the protection of the children."

The mother's appeal was dismissed