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Man Who Took Woman From Newton Facility 'Feared For Her Life'

BOSTON (CBS) – A man who took his friend from a Newton assisted living facility says he "feared for her life and she needs to get out of there."

David Collignon, 55, was released on personal recognizance after being arrested at Massachusetts General Hospital where he returned with 62-year-old Beth Birnbaum Thursday night.

David Collignon
David Collignon appears in court on May 20. (WBZ-TV)

A judge has now ordered him to stay away from Birnbaum, which his attorney says goes against Birnbaum's wishes. "The victim does not want a stay away order, does not want him to be told not to be near her," said defense attorney Michael Chinman.

Collignon says Birnbaum begged him for weeks to get her out of the CareOne facility. He's charged with abuse as a caretaker after taking Birnbaum without permission and without the consent of her health care proxy.

Collignon insists it's CareOne that is abusing her with substandard care. He was headed to Florida to place her in a facility there, but his brother Ross says when Newton police finally made contact with him and told him he could face kidnapping charges, he turned around.

Birnbaum Collignon
David Collignon and Beth Birnbaum (WBZ-TV)

Birnbaum suffered a stroke in January and according to court documents it was determined, "Beth does not have the capacity to make her own decisions."

But Chinman claims she's competent. "Her rights, her desires, her wishes are not being listened to."

Court documents also say there's concern Collignon has a financial motive with Birnbaum's estate worth $2.5 million. According to court documents, $13,000 was recently transferred from one of Birnbaum's accounts into her checking account.

As he left court, Collignon said "I love her, she's my best friend." He is staying with his brother until his next court appearance June 14.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Karen Twomey reports

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