search widens for Highbridge mother and son 'on the run'
Police search for a three-year-old boy and his mother from Highbridge
has been widened, officers said today.
Minnock, 35, and her son Ethan disappeared from their home in
the town two weeks ago, as reported
have gone missing after a court ruled the boy should live with
judge this week took the unusual step of lifting reporting restrictions
in an effort to help the search for the pair.
said today (Wednesday) that the search for them has been widened
to Birmingham and Gloucestershire after sightings there.
crews from Burnham Coastguard and BARB searched for the pair overnight
at nearby Berrow, as reported
Minnock's brother, sister and mother were arrested on Sunday,
accused of withholding information.
were warned by Judge Stephen Wildblood QC they "must be entirely
candid about any information that they have".
at Bristol Crown Court, he said: "We need to make sure this
child is found. I have suspicions that you know more. If there
is more to be learnt, it will be. You need to be aware of that."
instructed the three relatives to inform police immediately if
they received information about Ethan's location.
Minnock is about 5ft 3ins tall, of medium build, with dark wavy
shoulder-length hair, police said.
has blond hair and blue eyes. He has lived with his mother since
his parents separated in February 2013, the court heard. A month
later, his father Roger Williams applied for contact with him.
27th May this year, a district judge ruled Ethan should live with
his father after finding Miss Minnock had allegedly made false
allegations and obstructed contact between father and son.
court heard Miss Minnock, who does not drive, was seen in Highbridge
that day getting into a black Ford Focus being driven towards
Cheltenham, where she has relatives.
a police investigation and campaign by Ethan's father, they have
not been found. Mrs Minnock told the court her daughter had been
frightened ahead of the court hearing two weeks ago: "I think
she has panicked and couldn't take it."
Shaw, also from Highbridge, told the court he did not know where
his sister was but she had telephoned him to say she and Ethan
were "safe and well".
said he believed the court order was a "serious injustice"
and his sister had been "failed" by the authorities.
judge told Mr Shaw: "They are, in effect, on the run. They
can't claim benefits because if they do they will be found."
released the three from the court at the conclusion of the hearing
saying he was "not satisfied" he could commit them for
contempt of court based on the evidence he had heard.
he said further hearings were likely to take place, possibly involving
friends and family of Miss Minnock and Ethan.
with information about the whereabouts of the mother and child
are asked to contact the Police's Somerset investigations team
on the force number 101, quoting reference MP2189/15.