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Mum and son missing after family court awards custody to father (10 June 2015)

Date: 10/06/2015
Duncan Lewis, Child Care Solicitors, Mum and son missing after family court awards custody to father

A 35-year-old woman from Somerset and her three-year-old son have gone missing after a judge in the Family Division ruled that the boy should live with his father.

BBC News reports that Rebecca Minnock and her son, Ethan, disappeared from their home in Highbridge, Somerset, after a court ruling on 27 May awarded custody to Ethan’s father.

Reporting restrictions have been lifted as police try to found the missing mother and son.

Ethan’s parent separated in February 2013 and in March 2013, his father Roger Williams applied for contact with his son.

Custody was awarded to him after the judge found that Miss Minnock had made false allegations and “obstructed contact between father and son”.

On the day of the ruling, Miss Minnock was seen in Highbridge getting into a black Ford Focus, which was driven towards Cheltenham, where she has relatives.

It is reported that Miss Minnock's brother, sister and mother were arrested on suspicion of withholding information.

At Bristol Crown Court, Judge Stephen Wildblood QC said they must be “candid” about any information they had about the whereabouts of mother and child.

"We need to make sure this child is found,” he said.

Miss Minnock’s mother told the court her daughter had been frightened ahead of the court hearing two weeks ago:

“I think she has panicked and couldn't take it,” she said.
The judge warned the family that further hearings would be likely, but released them after finding insufficient evidence of contempt of court.

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