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Ethan and mother safe and well

Published 12/06/2015

Rebecca Minnock fled her home in Highbridge, Somerset, with son Ethan two weeks ago
Rebecca Minnock fled her home in Highbridge, Somerset, with son Ethan two weeks ago

A mother and her three-year-old son have been found safe and well after going missing more than two weeks ago, police said.

Rebecca Minnock went on the run with son Ethan 17 days ago after after a court ruled he should live with his father.

Avon and Somerset Police said she was in the Oxford area when she came forward and made contact with officers this evening.

Detective Chief Inspector Marie Wright said: "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."

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Miss Minnock said: "I feel that my time has run out now," and insisted she had no regrets about fleeing with Ethan.

She told the newspaper: "My only regret would be the trouble that my family have gotten into, all the police efforts and time I've wasted. 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."

Miss Minnock said her son believed he had been on holiday and they had been having "normal, fun times together", including going swimming and visiting parks.

She said she decided to hand herself in after Ethan asked to see family members.

She had also watching her mother Louise Minnock being jailed for contempt of court today after lying about the toddler's disappearance.

Miss Minnock told the Mail: "I've heard today that my mum's been taken to court and I know it's not fair to Ethan to keep running with him. He needs to go home, he needs his routine back.

"It's been extremely difficult, I've considered it every day since we've gone. What's made my mind up, Ethan has been asking to see my family, he's been asking to go to his bed back home."

Miss Minnock fled her home in Highbridge, Somerset, with her son Ethan more than two weeks ago.

The pair vanished on the day Miss Minnock was due to hand her only child over to his father, Roger Williams, following a court order.

She has defied orders by Judge Stephen Wildblood to come forward, as well as direct appeals from police and family members appearing before the courts.

Mrs Minnock, 52, and her boyfriend Andrew Butt, 56, were jailed for contempt of court today after Judge Wildblood said he "could not possibly" avoid imposing a prison sentence.

The pair were sentenced at Bristol Crown Court to 10 and 28 days respectively for lying to police and withholding "crucial" information which would find Ethan.

The toddler, who was born on January 25 2012, has lived with his mother since his parents separated in February 2013.

A custody battle began the next month. During the May 27 hearing this year, a judge said Ethan should live with Mr Williams and have supervised contact with his mother.

Earlier, Ms Wright made a direct appeal to Miss Minnock.

"Please can you get in touch one way or another and let's start talking," the detective said.

"We know you are looking after Ethan, we know he's safe and well, but you cannot keep on hiding forever, Becky."

Miss Minnock contacted a number of newspapers to say she fled because she felt "trapped" and while she has thought about giving herself up, each time she looks at her son she thinks she "can't do that".

She called The Sun earlier this week and has since contacted the Daily Mail, insisting that she and her son are "doing really well".

The mother-of-one said she knew what she has done was wrong and realised she could not stay in hiding forever.

She told the Mail: "I'm very realistic, I know I will be caught and he'll be taken from me."

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