Rebecca Minnock spared jail due to 'mercy' of her son's father

Ethan's father has dropped his application to jail Minnock

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The Independent Online

Rebecca Minnock, a mother who ran away with her son during a custody battle, has been told by a judge that she will not face prison due to the "mercy" of the boy's father.

Minnock ran away with her three-year-old son, Ethan, after losing a two-year custody battle with his father.

She fled her home in Highbridge, Somerset, and was on the run for 17 days.

Last week, Judge Stephen Wildblood QC received an application from Roger Williams, Ethan's father, to send Minnock to prison for contempt of court, alleging 10 breaches of court orders.

However, he has now dropped the application, saving his former partner from a prison sentence.

Minnock came forward with Ethan in Oxford on 12 June, following appeals from her family, police, and a High Court Judge.

Since then, Ethan has been reunited with his father, who lives in Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset. Williams has also had one hour of unsupervised contact with Minnock.

In a damning judgement, Judge Wildblood called Minnock "utterly irresponsible", and said she was a "scourge" on the family courts system.

Last year, she made allegations against Williams that were completely rejected by a district judge.

The judge said that these allegations were "fabricated" by Minnock in an effort to "frustrate contact".

Speaking about Williams' mercy, he said: "Had the contempt proceedings continued before me and led to a finding of contempt, I make no concealment of the fact that I would have sentenced her to immediate imprisonment which I anticipate would have involved a sentence of at least 28 days in prison."

"As it is, I think that the father's wishes should be respected. He and Ethan are the victims of this mother's actions and I consider that the father's voice should prevail."

The judge praised Williams for his "extreme sensitivity", and said he had kept "the pain, frustration and distress that he must have been feeling to himself."

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