A close friend of runaway mother Rebecca Minnock, who ran away with her three-year-old son after losing a custody battle, has told her that the manhunt had got "too big" and called on her to turn herself into police.
Andrew Butt, 56, addressed Ms Minnock from the witness box of a court room, where he had been found in contempt for telling a 'string of lies' about his role in her disappearance with her son, Ethan.
Mr Butt, long-term partner of Ms Minnock's mother, was giving evidence to Bristol Crown Court, after changing his story to admit that he had aided the get-away in a bid to generate nationwide publicity for a court custody battle over Ethan.
According to The Guardian, Mr Butt told the court: “It’s got too big, it’s massive. There’s no hiding no more. You can’t run forever."
He went on to say: "You need to come home."
Ms Minnock, 35, fled from her home in Highbridge, Somerset, two weeks ago following a court order that he should live with his father, Roger Williams.
Earlier this week, Lord Justice Wildblood told Mr Butt he had "told a string of lies" to the court and the police, and warned him he faced jail for contempt of court.
After taking Minnock to Cheltenham on the morning they fled, 26 May, the judge concluded that Butt knew “precisely where Rebecca and Ethan went”.
Despite his string of lies, Mr Butt, a long-distance lorry driver, 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.
The dramatic intervention came as police released a video appeal to Ms Minnock to return home.
In the video, entitled 'Our message to Becky', DCI Marie Wright says: "You don't have to carry on hiding. There is always a solution and way forward, and we can help you through this.
"Please can you get in touch, one way or another, and let's start talking. We know that you are looking after Ethan, we that he's safe and well, but you can't keep on hiding forever, Becky."