A mother who went on the run with her three-year-old son has been told she “owes her liberty” to the boy’s father after he dropped the case against her.
Rebecca Minnock, 35, fled from her Somerset home with Ethan on 27 May, the day a judge ruled the boy should live with his father, Roger Williams.
Earlier this week, her ex-partner applied for committal proceedings against her, asking the courts to rule on whether or not she should be jailed for contempt of court.
But a preliminary directions hearing in Bristol Family Court this week, Ms Minnock asked His Honour Judge Stephen Wildblood: “If I’m going to get sent to prison what emotional damage will that have on Ethan? That’s my biggest concern.”
Mr Williams then withdrew his application, The Guardian reports.
Judge Wildblood praised Mr Williams, 39, and told Ms Minnock that had she been found to be in contempt, she might have been jailed for at least 28 days.
The judge added that said she should have pursued any grievances through the courts.
“The one thing that this mother should not have done is to remove Ethan from his home environment and family life and take him into hiding,” he said.
“Her actions were manifestly contrary to the welfare of her child and were a product of her own self-focus. They had nothing to do with what was best for this child.
“Mr Williams’s decision [not to pursue proceedings] is, in my opinion, a strong and commendable display of parental responsibility and is plainly based on the best interests of Ethan. He does not wish Ethan to be exposed to the continuing publicity that Ms Minnock has caused.”
During her time on the run, Ms Minnock contacted the Sun by phone and did a photoshoot and video with the Daily Mail.
The judge has now made it clear that only what is said in open court should be reported, effectively stopping the media publishing anything Ms Minnock says outside court.
Ms Minnock asked him if she was being “gagged” but judge Wildblood told her the term was “singularly inappropriate”.