Judge responds to ‘missing mum’ statement (Updated)

News|June 12th 2015

 

His Honour Judge Wildblood has responded to a public statement made by a woman who disappeared with her son last month.

Two weeks ago, a district judge ruled that the three year-old boy, Ethan, should live with his father. This decision came after protracted and “heavily contested litigation”. The father, Roger Williams, had launched contact proceedings shortly after his separation from Rebecca Minnock, Ethan’s mother.

However, during these proceedings the mother made a number of allegations against the father. These included claims that he took drugs, “was controlling in his behaviour and also behaved in ways that were sexually inappropriate”. The district judge who initially heard the case rejected all of the mother’s allegations.

Additionally, the judge found that “Ethan had been exposed to emotional harm by the mother” and that her attempts to prevent Mr Williams from seeing his son had breached two court orders. The first was for her to attend the hearing, which she did not, and the other was an order which said Ethan should live with his father for four days per week.

The judge therefore ruled that Ethan should live with his father permanently and that Ms Minnock would only be able to spend time with her son under supervision.

Ms Minnock then took her son into hiding. Local police were unable to locate the two so Judge Wildblood allowed the media to report their names to help with the search.

Shortly after Ms Minnock’s name was reported to the public, she contacted The Sun newspaper. She claimed that she and Ethan were “both safe and well and he is very happy”.

Ms Minnock said she “couldn’t bear to leave [her] son” and that she “just felt trapped”. She admitted in her statement to the newspaper that she realised she was “going to be in a huge, huge amount of trouble” for her actions.

Sitting at the Bristol Crown Court on Thursday, Judge Wildblood emphasised “the seriousness with which the court approaches the task of ensuring, if at all possible, that both parents maintain an effective relationship with the child”.

He also addressed the widespread media attention the case has received and expressed gratitude for the “dramatic effect” it was having.

The judge added that Mr Williams “ran out of money entirely” over the course of the care proceedings. This was “understandable” because he had been “legally represented at his own cost through these proceedings which have gone on for a long time”.

Speaking to the media this week, Mr Williams expressed his concern for his son and his desire to see him returned.

Last night, Ms Minnock also contacted the Daily Mail, and repeated her claim that Ethan was doing very well.

“People probably think I’m mad for what I’ve done but I’m really realistic. I know I can’t do this for ever”, she admitted.

Photo of Bristol by Harshil Shah via Flickr

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Comments(16)

  1. Tim Farley says:

    There is a great public interest in this story and I feel that the public needs to hear WHY the Judge decided to award custody to the Father. On the face of it, wrenching a young child from the care of an obviously loving Mother seems an unnatural and cruel act. The public really do need to be assured that the Judiciary and/or Social Services and/or so called “Experts” have not made a grave error here.

    • Luke says:

      Well Tim, frankly I don’t, these sort of decisions get made against fathers all the time (some right, some clearly wrong) – it happens to a mother and you want what amounts to a public inquiry !

    • Cameron Paterson says:

      Thanks for your comment. We now have access to the judgement so have added that information to the story.

    • Nordic says:

      Tim,
      I am curious. How did you arrive at the conclusion that this was an “obviously loving mother”?

  2. stitchedup says:

    Frankly speaking, the mother’s behaviour and false allegations seem par for the course. The only thing unusual about this case is that a judge has seen through the false allegations and decided to act on the mother’s attempts to thwart her child’s contact with his father.

    • SP says:

      My daughter is going through hell in the courts at the moment because of false allegations from the father of her child. He was never interested in helping bring up their child when they were together, pays nothing towards her upbringing, but now he is fighting dirty to get the child and it’s so obvious he is doing it just to hurt my daughter. By the way he is the one who has a new partner whilst my daughter puts her energy into looking after their child. Yet she is getting a hard time from the judge and other powers so where’s the justice in that? Oh and this is the 3rd child he’s left yet the powers that be are more interested in his rights, so don’t go on about poor fathers !

  3. Luke says:

    The response by the media and Police to her eventual returning is very telling, it’s all about “their safety” – as if the mother was in some sort of danger from undefined external forces !
    .
    The Police did absolutely nothing on her return, does ANYBODY (?) think the reaction would have been the same if the father had abducted the child ?

  4. Bolchedik says:

    The sad irony is that it is the system for which the judge stands that creates this kind of wickedness, and the various charities and lawyers that prey on women by manipulating them, manufacturing feelings of victimhood and entitlement. This is a system that treats women as child-like imbeciles only capable of child-rearing and financial dependency, which encourages sexism and all kinds of bad behavior including false allegations, and which exploits family conflict to prop up a very lucrative industry.

    I think the crime of kidnapping is 10 years in jail if you are male. I imagine this does not apply to females. What I would like to ask is why there is not yet a prison sentence for being part of system that fosters such crime?

  5. JamesB says:

    Well Luke said what I was thinking.

    I feel sorry for the boy. I hope his mother and father can both see him and get on better in future.

    False accusations should stop. I had them and with out evidence got to see my son less. I couldn’t afford the lawyers to ‘win’ what is winning anyway, if it upsets the child.

    Its like the judgement of Solomon where the real mother gives up the child to save it. I like to think I did that. It is a sad that the woman put herself before the child.

    Real parenting involves going to court, being called a pedo, getting less contact, going to contact centres, losing friends through being called names and making the best for your children.

    It is the choices we make that define us. I think unreasonable behaviour petitions and mud slinging in court doesn’t help. Good parents try and rise above without giving up. Although I admit it is very hard and I have sympathy for her I have about 10 times more sympathy for the child and more sympathy (say 3 times as much for the father in this case). Family courts make difficult decisions badly and often wrong. It is possible to go ok in the long run though, my children know I am ok and I do see them now, something the court didn’t really help with.

    Unfortunatley the only thing that worked for me was saying yes to whatever the mother said and taking whatever contact was offered and being used as a child minder, court wouldn’t enforce contact or anything as I couldn’t afford the lawyers. Which is one of the reasons why I don’t have much sympathy for fighting parents in court. Shouldn’t be about winning and losing, the court has clearly failed in this case looking at the child as what is in his best interests surely isn’t being paraded in front of the daily mail. If it were me and I was the Judge it would be indirect contact once a month to be reviewed in six months for her. She needs to behave herself more. Was glad they locked up the others in the case concerned also.

  6. JamesB says:

    If she profits from the Daily Mail it is absolutely disgusting behaviour on their behalf. Yet another case of the press or bankers or politicians or lawyers behaving badly, the only ones missing here being bankers. The rest have contributed badly to this story and outcome. She should be fined the amount of the fee she got from the daily mail by the court concerned for contempt. Not rewarded.

  7. JamesB says:

    Typo in above comment as was rushing. Son and daughter less it should have read.

  8. JamesB says:

    Spot the good person in the story? I haven’t yet, although I am leaning towards the Police for locking up the right people who harboured and helped her hide and this behaviour and upset things and made things worse for the child.

    As I said I think all my words add up to, I agree with Luke’s post on this thread.

  9. Dr Rainer Kurz says:

    While there are at times injustices inflicted on fathers I have heard of numerous cases were Social Services fabricated allegations of ’emotional harm’ and prematurely dismissed allegations of sexual abuse.

    Prof Jane Ireland found that 2/3 of Psychological Assessments in Family Court settings sampled were ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’. ‘Court Appointed Experts’ act as ‘hired guns’.

    See http://www.forced-adoption.com for the disconcerting impact of the ‘Adoption Industry’.

    In one case I am aware off allegations of a toddler rape were ‘rejected’ yet ‘three untimely deaths’ in the run-up to the alleged assault expediently ‘missed’ by the so called Child Protection Process.

    The ‘gaming’ of Family Court proceedings is pervasive!

  10. AL Lagi says:

    When mother ABDUCT they should be given “support” and NOT be arrested by TV Police.
    When Fathers attempt anything of the sort, throw them in the slammer, criminalise them and NEVER let them see their son

    The law in this countyr is a JOKE.

    • AL Lagi says:

      As fas as Fathers are concerned, The Royal COurts of Justice should be renamed :
      THE ROYAL COURTS OF INJUSTICE. Been there for 6 years.

  11. JamesB says:

    It seems to me that children are made half from the mother and half from the father. So if go to court the child automatically loses wins in an adversarial, mother against father situation.

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