A close family friend who helped a runway mother flee with her three-year-old son faces prison after a judge ruled that he had "told a string of lies," about their disappearance.
Rebecca Minnock, 35, vanished from her home in Highbridge, Somerset, with son Ethan two weeks ago following a court order that he should live with his father, Roger Williams.
As police continued to hunt for the pair, her mother's partner Andrew Butt, 56, was warned that he faces jail for being "utterly untruthful" about his knowledge of their disappearance.
"I have no doubt that Mr Butt has told a string of lies," Judge Stephen Wildblood QC told Bristol Crown Court.
After taking Minnock to Cheltenham on the morning they fled, the judge concluded that Butt knew “precisely where Rebecca and Ethan went” but had repeatedly lied to police and in court about this.
Earlier the court heard that Butt had first insisted he had last seen Miss Minnock on May 26 – the day before she went missing.
But he later admitted he had given her a lift to a cash point in Highbridge before taking her to a One Stop shop in the town. Minnock was clearly captured exiting and re-entering the car on CCTV the court heard.
"His mobile phone was used to make two calls to Rebecca Minnock," Judge Wildblood said, adding that he had no doubt that Butt made the calls.
The suggestion those calls were independent of seeing Miss Minnock was “utterly contrite and utterly untruthful,” he added.
"I don't believe him when he says he does not know where Rebecca Minnock went that morning,” he said.
In evidence, Mr Butt described the custody battle as a “nightmare” and said it had put pressure on his relationship with Miss Minnock's mother.
“We all have people we love and care for,” he added. “If you betray your family, well you are a traitor.”
But “for failing to tell the truth about the events of that morning,” Judge Wildblood said Butt had breached a collection order for Ethan, which was served on Monday.
“I intend to sentence you in breach of the collection order,” he said, warning that he faces prison.Reuse content