Somerset

Rebecca Minnock: Missing mum urged to contact police chief

Rebecca Minnock and Ethan Image copyright Avon and Somerset Police
Image caption Rebecca Minnock and her son Ethan went missing more than two weeks ago

A mother who has gone missing with her three-year-old son has been urged to speak directly to the police chief leading the search for her.

Rebecca Minnock and her son Ethan disappeared from Highbridge, Somerset, on 27 May, the day a court ruled he should live with his father.

She told newspapers she knew it was wrong but she could not give Ethan up.

Det Ch Insp Marie Wright told her: "You don't have to carry on hiding. There's always a solution."

In a video posted on Avon and Somerset Police's Facebook page, Det Ch Insp Wright said she had passed on her personal number to staff in 999 and 111 call centres, so Miss Minnock could contact her personally.

Image copyright PA
Image caption A district judge had ruled Ethan should live with his father Roger Williams

In a direct message to Ms Minnock, she said: "I want to make sure you and Ethan are safe.

"I know that you are going to be under a huge amount of emotional pressure and strain and I want you to come to the right decision about you and Ethan."

"I'm more than happy to speak to you on the phone and we can work out what's the best way to get you and Ethan back to some sort of normal life."

She went on to tell Ms Minnock to contact the Missing People charity if she felt uncomfortable calling the police.

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Media captionPolice make appeal to missing mum

She added: "Please can you get in touch one way or another and let's start talking."

The search for Ms Minnock and Ethan has widened to Cheltenham and Birmingham. Media attention has intensified since a judge lifted reporting restrictions on the case.

On Thursday Ms Minnock contacted the Daily Mail and accepted her actions were "wrong", adding: "I know I'm going to get caught and he will be taken from me."

She said although she had thought about contacting the police, she "could not bear to give her son up".

Miss Minnock has been engaged in a two-year legal battle with Ethan's father Roger Williams over contact with their son. In February, a district judge found she had fabricated allegations against Mr Williams in order to "frustrate contact" between him and Ethan

A social worker reported that Ethan was not "emotionally safe" with his mother. Ethan had been staying with his father four nights a week since February.

Ms Minnock did not attend a court hearing on 27 May where a judge ruled that Ethan should live with his father. She was seen withdrawing cash in Highbridge before getting into a black Ford Focus. Police believe Ms Minnock and her son are being hidden by friends or relatives.

Andrew Butt, a family friend who owns a black Ford Focus, has been convicted of contempt of court in connection with the case. He was appearing at Bristol Crown Court on Friday where he could face a jail sentence.

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