Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Relatives Jailed for Lying about Missing Ethan, 3

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Relatives Jailed for Lying about Missing Ethan, 3

Article excerpt

Byline: Claire Hayhurst and Rod Minchin Reporters

THE grandmother of missing Ethan Williams and her boyfriend have been jailed for contempt of court after lying about the toddler's disappearance.

Judge Stephen Wildblood at Bristol Crown Court said he "could not possibly" avoid imposing a prison sentence on Louise Minnock, 52, and Andrew Butt, 56.

Mrs Minnock's daughter, Rebecca Minnock, 35, fled her home in Highbridge, Somerset, with three-yearold Ethan two weeks ago.

The pair vanished on the day Miss Minnock was due to hand her only child over to his father, Roger Williams, following a court order.

She has defied orders by Judge Wildblood to come forward, as well as direct appeals from police and family members appearing before the courts.

Mrs Minnock and Mr Butt were jailed for 10 and 28 days respectively for lying to police and withholding "crucial" information which would find Ethan.

Judge Wildblood told Butt: "Yesterday I said that I was in no doubt that you know precisely where Rebecca Minnock and Ethan Williams went that day because you conveyed them both to their destination in your motor car that morning. "Today you have admitted taking mother and child to Cheltenham but you have continued to lie about where in Cheltenham you took them.

"You know how important it is that Ethan and Rebecca Minnock are found. They cannot remain in hiding for ever and you know that they will found in the very near future.

"In the meantime Ethan is not receiving the stability and care that he should.

"Further, you know how serious it is that orders have been made for Ethan to live with his father and that those orders are being thwarted by Rebecca's deliberate disobedience, a disobedience that you have assisted.

"You are also well aware of the injustice that is being occasioned to Roger Williams, Ethan's father, and the consequent hardship that is being caused to him and others."

Butt was found to be in contempt of court during his evidence on Thursday and asked to be sworn back into the witness box to change his account yesterday. …

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