Becky Minnock
Rebecca Minnock surrendered herself to officers following a police appealAvon and Somerset Police

The mother who fled with her three-year-old son after a court awarded custody of the boy to his father has been accused of "manipulating the press", a judge said on Monday (15 June).

Rebecca Minnock, 35, became the subject of a nationwide search earlier in June when she went into hiding after refusing to attend a court hearing calling for her to give custody of her son Ethan to his father, Roger Williams.

She had breached previous court orders and reportedly exposed her boy to "emotional harm".

Addressing her in court, Judge Stephen Wildblood, QC, told Minnock it was an "utterly irresponsible way to behave" at the expense of the child and added she and her family had tried to cause a "manipulation of the press".

The judge said that during the two-year custody battle, she had "positively invented allegations against the father on two occasions".

He added that the boy's welfare was the court's priority and that no criminal proceedings would be brought against her at this time.

Her mother, Louise, 52, and her partner, Andrew Butt, 56, were jailed for contempt of court earlier in June after lying about the pair's whereabouts. The mother and son were last seen on 26 May in Taunton, Somerset.

She eventually handed herself into police custody in Oxford on Friday (12 June), admitting "her time has run out". Williams confirmed over the weekend that Ethan was back in his care.