Mother: I’ll never give up on Ethan

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Published: Sunday 14th June 2015 by The News Editor

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A mother who went on the run with her three-year-old son for more than two weeks has said she will never give up on trying to keep her “beautiful baby”.

Rebecca Minnock, 35, went missing from her home in Highbridge, Somerset, with son Ethan for 17 days after a court ruled he should live with his father.

The pair vanished on May 27 – the day Miss Minnock was due to attend a family court hearing in Bristol and hand her son over to ex-partner Roger Williams, 39.

She handed herself into police in Oxford on Friday evening following pleas from police, family members and the High Court judge dealing with the case.

Mr Williams, of Burnham-on-Sea, yesterday confirmed he had been reunited with Ethan, saying: “Ethan is safely back in my care now.”

Avon and Somerset Police have made no arrests since Miss Minnock came forward. A family court hearing will take place at Bristol Crown Court tomorrow.

Writing on Facebook, Miss Minnock thanked supporters who had signed a petition urging social services to re-examine the custody case.

“That heart-breaking moment when you see that the little seed your baby planted weeks and weeks ago has finally started to grow, and he’s not here to see it,” she wrote.

“To say I’m devastated is an understatement, I have today read all the support from all of you and am speechless.

“I am preying (sic) that this case gets re looked at properly and the judge can see that my son belongs with his mama who absolutely loves him to bits.

“Think you all know how much I adore Ethan.

“Two years of hell, but would do it over and over if it meant he was safe with me. Xx”

In another post on a page called ‘Keep Ethan with his mum’, Miss Minnock wrote: ” Thank you to you all for the overwhelming amount of support for Ethan and myself.

“My heart breaks for the mums and dads that have been through the family law system and have been let down terribly.

“To all the mums and dads fighting for their children: please keep going and never give up. I will never give up on keeping my beautiful baby safe.

“Once again a huge thank you to you,to all you mums and dads and especially my family and friends for your support. Lots of love Ethie and me x”

Judge Stephen Wildblood QC, the judge dealing with the case, has confirmed there will be a hearing at 10am at Bristol Crown Court tomorrow.

The hearing, in open court, is for “directions in relation to the discharge of collection order” handed to Miss Minnock’s family and friends.

The order, which required a person to bring Ethan or any information leading to him before the courts, was served on June 3.

Miss Minnock’s mother, Louise Minnock, of Highbridge, and her partner, Andrew Butt, of Cheltenham, were sent to prison on Friday.

Judge Wildblood jailed Mrs Minnock for 10 days and Mr Butt for 28 after finding them in contempt of court for withholding vital information about Ethan’s disappearance.

Mr Butt admitted he had lied in court and had helped Miss Minnock escape with her son by driving them to Cheltenham on May 27.

Mrs Minnock said she had been aware of that fact but had not told Judge Wildblood on numerous occasions because she was “scared”.

The collection order was served on Mrs Minnock, Mr Butt, Miss Minnock’s brother Marvin Shaw and sister Limmie Shaw last week.

Judge Wildblood said he was “deeply suspicious” that Mr Shaw and Miss Shaw were withholding information but could not prove it to a criminal standard.

Miss Minnock spoke to the Daily Mail before handing herself in, telling the paper: “I feel that my time has run out now.”

She said Ethan had caused her to come forward to police as he was asking to see family members and sleep in his own bed.

“My only regret would be the trouble that my family have gotten into, all the police efforts and time I’ve wasted,” Miss Minnock told the newspaper.

“Obviously everyone’s been concerned but we’ve both been absolutely fine.

“He’s been safe and happy and I don’t have any regrets because I’ve spent so much more time with him than I would’ve been able to.”

Ethan, who was born on January 25 2012, has lived with Miss Minnock since his parents separated in February 2013.

A custody battle began the following month. Miss Minnock made allegations about Mr Williams, which a district judge later ruled were false.

On May 27, it was found Miss Minnock had exposed Ethan to emotional harm and should only have supervised contact with him.

It was ordered that the boy should live with Mr Williams full-time.

Speaking during the sentencing hearing for Mrs Minnock and Mr Butt, Judge Wildblood said it was clear Ethan was loved by both parents.

“Everything possible will be done to ensure that Ethan has an effective relationship with both of his parents,” the judge said.

“There is no doubt at all that Ethan is a boy who is much loved by both of his parents and that they both want what they perceive to be best for him.”

Published: Sunday 14th June 2015 by The News Editor

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