A mother who went on the run with her three-year-old son during a custody battle could be jailed if her ex-partner starts legal proceedings against her.
Roger Williams, 39, and his son Ethan's guardian have until Wednesday to decide whether they wish to bring contempt proceedings against the boy's mother Rebecca Minnock, 35, for defying two court orders.
Speaking during a hearing at Bristol Crown Court, Judge Wildblood said Mr Williams and the court-appointed guardian needed time to "reflect" on whether to start contempt of court proceedings.
He said: "It is not an issue that has simply gone away and there needs to be a very clear message that parties cannot behave in the way that this mother has behaved."
There will be a further hearing in private later this month to decide the interim arrangements for contact between Miss Minnock and Ethan.
"That means that over the next 11 days there will be limited contact between the mother and Ethan but that is only a temporary arrangement whilst matters settle down and people take stock of the current position," the judge added.
A mother who went on the run with her son during a custody battle with the child's father has been branded "utterly irresponsible".Read the full story ›
The family of a mother who went on the run for almost three weeks with her young son have said they are "focusing" on trying to win back custody of the child after the missing mum handed herself over to police.
Rebecca Minnock, 35, disappeared from her home in Somerset, with son Ethan after a judge ruled he should live with his father and remained in hiding for 17 days before finally turning herself in today.
Minnock's sister Limmie Shaw said her side of the three-year-old's family were now "fully focused on getting Ethan back with his mum".
ITV News reporter Peter Smith reports on today's return of Ethan to his father:
A three-year-old boy who was missing with his mother for more than two weeks is now "safely back" in the care of his father.
Rebecca Minnock, 35, went on the run from her home in Highbridge, Somerset, with Ethan for 17 days after a court ruled that her son should live with his father, Roger Williams
Mr Williams said this morning, "Ethan is safely back in my care now."
A police spokesman said no arrests had been made following the return of mother and son.
"This will be a matter for the family courts now," the spokesman added.
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 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.
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.
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.
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".
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:
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.
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.