The ex-partner of a woman who has gone on the run with their three-year-old son after becoming embroiled in family court litigation has urged her to have faith in the justice system.
Patrick Sheridan, who has not seen son Olly Sheridan for more than six months, said relatives of ex-partner Ellie Yarrow-Sanders have been given “every reassurance”.
He said he worries he is fading from Olly’s memory and the word despair “doesn’t even begin to cover how I feel”.
Miss Yarrow-Sanders, who is aged in her 20s, disappeared with Olly in July in the midst of a family court dispute over the boy with Mr Sheridan, who is in his 40s.
A High Court judge now overseeing the case has made public appeals for information.
Mr Justice Williams initially raised the alarm at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in December.
Hearings had been staged in private but Mr Justice Williams has said members of the family, who come from Basildon, Essex, can now be identified in media reports in the hope that publicity will produce information.
He has said he is gravely concerned for Olly’s welfare.
In February, the judge used Twitter to send Miss Yarrow-Sanders a plea to return home.
He promised her she would be fairly treated and given a voice in court.
Miss Yarrow-Sanders’s mother, Donna Yarrow, last week asked Home Secretary Sajid Javid for help.
She has written to Mr Javid and asked him to give her daughter “amnesty” and “reassurance that she will not be prosecuted”.
But Mr Sheridan said the “focus” must remain on Olly.
He told the Press Association: “Olly’s now been apart from us for seven months.
“We’re constantly asked by friends and family if there’s been any news, and it’s so heart-breaking to have to say no every time, and to worry that as the months go by, we’re fading away from his memory.
“He has been taken away from us and his mother’s family for so long, which must be having a devastating effect on him.
“Ellie needs to have some faith in the justice system. Her family have been given every reassurance they could possibly want for her, and yet we’ve heard nothing.”
Mr Sheridan urged anyone with information to contact police.
“My message to the public is if you have any scrap of information – even if you think it isn’t relevant – please get in touch with the police,” he said.
“Even the smallest piece might spark a new lead.
“Despair doesn’t even begin to cover how I feel about it.”
Lawyer Toby Hales, who is based at law firm Irwin Mitchell and represents Mr Sheridan, said: “Patrick is still worried sick for his missing son and hopes to hear some good news every day.
“Olly Sheridan and Ellie Yarrow-Sanders have now been gone for seven months – far too long for a toddler to live a life on the run.
“I cannot express strongly enough how important it is for Ellie and Olly to come home so that Olly can live a normal life again with his family and friends.
“The judge has made every possible reassurance to both sides of the family that Olly will not be taken into care and that Ellie’s voice will be heard, even making a direct appeal on social media, an unprecedented move, in a bid to reach Ellie directly.
“The court has done everything it can: It is time for Ellie to cooperate, to come out of hiding and bring her son back home.”