Missing mother and toddler: Grandmother of Ethan Williams and her partner jailed

Rebecca Minnock and Ethan Williams have been missing since late May

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The Independent Online

Louise Minnock, the grandmother of missing toddler Ethan Williams, and her partner Andrew Butt, have been jailed for contempt of court after they withheld "crucial" information about the pair’s disappearance.

Mrs Minnock's daughter Rebecca Minnock, 35, and three-year-old Ethan have been missing for two weeks, after they fled from their home in Highbridge, Somerset, following a court ruling that the child should live with his father, Roger Williams.

The mother has defied pleas from Judge Wildblood, the police, and her family her to come forward.

She recently 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”.

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

The grandmother was jailed for 10 days, while Butt was handed a 28 day-sentence.

Judge Wildblood told Bristol Crown Court that the pair were both guilty, however Butt's case was “more grievous”, after he met with Miss Minnock the night before she disappeared, and helped her plan how to flee instead of attending the family court hearing.

He told Mr Butt: "You know how important it is that Ethan and Rebecca Minnock are found. They cannot remain in hiding for ever and you know that they will found in the very near future."

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Mr Butt initially told the court that Ms Minnock did not tell him where she would take Ethan, and so would not be able to tell police if arrested.

The court also heard that Mr Butt told police: "Me and my family would all rather do 10 years in prison rather than tell you where they are."

However, he later admitted in court that he had met Ms Minnock and drove her and Ethan to Cheltenham, where her aunt Anna Peters lives.

"She said 'I've got no choice'," he told the court.

The judge also said Mrs Minnock had shown "no regard" for and persistently breached a collection order he had issued for Ethan.

Both Mrs Minnock and Mr Butt apologised, with the latter telling the judge and his legal team he was sorry for “doing nothing but lie” to them. He said he wished to make amends.

Mrs Minnock said: "I'm sorry judge, I was very scared. I just want my daughter home.

"This has taken any bit of strength I have got left, I am about to break down from it all.

"I think my daughter will be home soon. Like you said, she can't run forever, she needs money. I can't get her any myself.

"She will have to come home and face it. It think it is the best thing for her to do because everyone has had enough.

"I miss my daughter. I used to see my grandson every day. I miss them."

Earlier, Detective Chief Inspector Marie Wright, of Avon and Somerset Police, urged Ms Minnock to come get in touch. "Let's start talking," he said.

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

“Please get in touch - we really want to help you. Thank you.”

Additional reporting by PA