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Mum who ran away to escape custody row hands herself in

After almost three weeks in hiding, a women who went missing with her three-year-old son amidst a bitter custody battle has handed herself over to police.

Rebecca Minnock, who was in Oxford, gave herself up to officers tonight, after telling the Daily Mail she had run away because she felt "trapped" by a judge's decision to award full custody to her son Ethan Williams' father.

ITV News reporter Peter Smith has the story:

Police thank public for help in search for mother and son

Police have thanked members of the public and the media who helped in the search for missing mother Rebecca Minnock and her three-year-old son Ethan Williams.

Miss Minnock, who had been staying in the Oxford area, has now handed herself over to officers.

This is the news we had been hoping for and I am grateful to Becky for coming forward.

Both Becky and Ethan will now receive the support they need and the appropriate welfare arrangements will be made.

I would like to thank the public and the media for their assistance throughout this investigation.

– DCI Marie Wright, Avon and Somerset Police


Runaway mum: I felt going into hiding was my only choice

A mother who went on the run for almost three weeks with her young son has said she had felt "trapped" by a court's decision to award custody to the boy's father.

A judge had ruled Ethan Williams, three, should live full time with his father Roger Williams, and that Rebecca Minnock should only be allowed supervised contact after she made a series of false allegations against her former partner.

Rebecca Minnock handed herself in tonight Credit: Daily Mail

A child psychiatrist, a social worker and a court-appointed guardian all agreed with the judgement - but, on the morning of a court hearing on May 27 when Mr Williams was due to take on full custody, Miss Minnock went into hiding.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, she said:

It was a huge decision, I did feel trapped at the time. I just looked at my son that morning and I just couldn't hand him over. I just felt that was all I could do at the time, was run away.

My only regret would be the trouble that my family have gotten into, and all the time, the police effort and time that I've wasted.

Obviously, everyone has been concerned, but we've both been absolutely fine.

– Rebecca Minnock

Missing mother hands herself over to police after 17 days

A mother who ran away with her three-year-old son after a court ruled the boy should live with his father has handed herself over to police.

Rebecca Minnock disappeared with her son, Ethan Williams, 17 days ago.

She tonight surrendered to officers after telling the Daily Mail that she felt her "time has run out".

Mother's disappearance was 'plan to win public support'

A mother ran away with her three-year-old son as part of a calculated plan to win public support and overturn a judge's decision to award his father full custody, it was claimed today.

Andrew Butt, the partner of Rebecca Minnock's mother who drove her to Cheltenham on the day she went missing, told Bristol Crown Court that the plan was to use the pair's time in hiding to drum up interest in the ongoing battle over where Ethan should live.

Butt and Rebecca's mother Louise were both jailed for lying over their disappearance.

ITV News reporter Peter Smith was in court:

Plea to missing mum: 'Becky, please come home'

A man who has been jailed for helping a woman flee with her toddler son - and then lied about it to police - has issued a written statement pleading with her to come home.

Andrew Butt, aged 56, was jailed for 28 days for contempt of court by a judge at Bristol Crown Court today for lying about helping Rebecca Minnock escape with three-year-old Ethan.

Andrew Butt's written statement Credit: ITV News

Rebecca's mother Louise, 52, was jailed for 10 days for also repeatedly lying to officers and to the court.

Butt drove Rebecca to Cheltenham on May 27 to help her disappear, after a judge granted full custody to Ethan's father.

In a written statement, Butt pleaded with her to return home, adding:

Becky, you need to seriously look at the situation. It's only going to get worse, not just for you but for all of us.

There are some very good people who will help and support you.

We have made our point, we have our support. Come home.

– Andrew Butt


Grandmother of missing toddler jailed for contempt

The grandmother of a three-year-old boy missing with his mother has been jailed for contempt of court after lying about the pair's disappearance.

Louise Minnock was jailed at Bristol Crown Court for 10 days, while her partner Andrew Butt - who has now admitted driving Rebecca Minnock and her son Ethan to Cheltenham on the day they disappeared - was jailed for 28 days.

Rebecca Minnock and Ethan are missing

The pair have not been seen since May 27, when CCTV caught Rebecca taking money out of a cash machine in Highbridge, Somerset, before climbing into Butt's car and heading for Cheltenham.

Her mother and Butt repeatedly told police and the court they did not know where they were.

Minnock told the court today she had been "scared" to admit what she knew.

Judge: Missing mum's family in 'serious contempt of court'

The family of missing mother Rebecca Minnock have committed "serious contempts of court" by hiding details of where she went when she disappeared with her three-year-old son Ethan, a judge has ruled.

Miss Minnock's mother Louise Minnock knew she had gone to Cheltenham as she had been told by her partner, Andrew Butt, who had driven her there himself, the court heard - but did not say anything because she was "scared".

ITV News West Country reporter Caron Bell is in court for the hearing:

Missing mum's friend: 'I helped her flee but can get her back'

A friend of the Somerset woman who is missing with her three-year-old son has told a court how he helped her flee - and believes that he can persuade her to hand herself in.

Andrew Butt, a long-distance lorry driver, admitted that he took Rebecca Minnock and Ethan Minnock to Cheltenham on May 27, when the 35-year-old decided to go on the run with her son.

The mother-of-one wanted to avoid handing the boy over to his father, Roger Williams, after a court awarded him custody of Ethan.

More: 'I know I can't do this forever' missing mum tells paper

Mr Butt, who is the partner of Minnock's mother, apologised to the judge at Bristol Crown Court for "telling him a pack of lies" yesterday.

The 56-year-old was due to be sentenced by Judge Wildblood for contempt yesterday, but asked to be sworn back into the witness box to change his account.

He said today that he doesn't know where Ms Minnock is now, but wants to "get out and find her ... I'm confident I can bring her home."

I swear I don't know where Becky is at this point in time," he said. "That doesn't mean I can't find out.

– Andrew Butt

ITV News West Country reporter Caron Bell was in court for the hearing:

Police issue direct YouTube appeal to missing mum

Police have issued a direct video appeal to a Somerset woman who is on the run with her three-year-old son to hand herself in.

Rebecca Minnock, 35, went missing with Ethan Minnock more than two weeks ago after losing a long-running custody battle with the boy's father, Roger Williams.

The mother-of-one has since contacted a number of newspapers to say she took her son because she felt "trapped" but "she knew she couldn't do this forever".

DCI Marie Wright, of Avon and Somerset Constabulary speaks directly to the camera in the two-and-a-half minute video uploaded to YouTube today:

You’ve said that you think you’re going to be in a huge amount of trouble for what you’ve done, but I want to make sure that you and Ethan are safe and we need to reach a solution that's best for you both.

I know what you’ve said to the newspapers is that you want to hand yourself in, and I want to talk to you about how we can do that together.

– DCI Marie Wright
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