Missing Ethan is 'safely back' with his father after mother Rebecca Minnock turned herself in

Ethan's father, Roger Williams, has his son after the boy's mother took him on the run for 17 days

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The Independent Online

A three-year-old boy is “safely back” in the care of his father after going missing with his mother for more than two weeks.

Rebecca Minnock, 35, disappeared with her son Ethan for 17 days from her home in Highbridge, Somerset after a court ruled that her son should live with his father, Roger Williams.

On Saturday morning, Williams said: “Ethan is safely back in my care now” after Minnock turned herself in on Friday. Both she and her son were well.

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,” they added.

Minnock spoke to the Daily Mail before handing herself in, telling the paper: “I feel that my time has run out now.”

She said her son believed he had been on holiday because they had been having “normal, fun times together”, such as going swimming and visiting parks.

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

“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.“

Minnock said she decided to come forward to police after Ethan asked to see family members.

She was also aware that her mother, Louise Minnock, and mother's boyfriend, Andrew Butt, were jailed for contempt of court at Bristol Crown Court.

Judge Wildblood jailed Minnock for 10 days and Butt for 28 days after they admitted lying about the toddler's disappearance.

Minnock said it was "not fair to Ethan to keep running with him“ and that her son ”needs to go home, he needs his routine back“.

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Rebecca Minnock pictured with her son, Ethan

"It's been extremely difficult, I've considered it every day since we've gone,“ she told the newspaper.

"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 Highbridge on the day she was due to hand her child over to his father following a court order.

CCTV images show Miss Minnock withdrawing £300 from a cash machine at the Asda store in Highbridge at 8.17am before getting into the car.

Butt, a long-distance lorry driver, drove the mother and son to Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, where members of her family live.

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 following month. The next hearing will be a hearing at Bristol Crown Court on Monday, Judge Stephen Wildblood QC confirmed.

Additional reporting by Press Association