High Court Judge in Twitter plea to mother on the run with three-year-old son who has links to Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 08:07 02 February 2019 | UPDATED: 12:26 02 February 2019
A High Court judge has used Twitter to send a come home plea to a woman with links to King's Lynn who has gone missing with her three-year-old son.
Ellie Yarrow-Sanders, 26, disappeared with Olly Sheridan in July after becoming embroiled in family court litigation with ex-partner Patrick Sheridan.
A previous appeal for her to return home said she said she had connections in King’s Lynn.
Mr Justice Williams, who is overseeing the case at hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London, urged Miss Yarrow-Sanders to bring Olly back.
His plea was delivered in a tweet posted on Friday on the Judicial Office Twitter account using the hashtag #comehomeolly.
Lawyers think it is the first time a judge made such use of Twitter.
Miss Yarrow-Sanders’ mother and sister also urged her to return.
MORE: Mother and three-year-old son missing for months amid family court battle have connections to King’s Lynn
Her mother Donna, 47, and sister Maddie, 22, on Friday made a joint plea with Mr Sheridan, who is in his mid-40s, and said Olly needed to “come home to his normal life”.
The tweet was issued after Mr Justice Williams analysed the latest stage of the litigation at a hearing on Friday.
He oversaw a hearing in private, but authorised lawyers to release a statement detailing his message to Miss Yarrow-Sanders.
The statement was attached to the tweet.
The tweet said: “High Court Judge, Mr Justice Williams, and Ellie Yarrow-Sanders’ mother and sister have made a direct appeal to Ellie to bring missing toddler Olly Sheridan home, with reassurances as to how she will be treated and given a voice in court.”
The attached statement outlined the judge’s concern and included a promise that he would deal with Miss Yarrow-Sanders’ case fairly.
It said a senior social worker had been appointed to “promote Olly’s welfare”.
Lawyers said the judge had made it clear that such a move did not mean there was any chance of Olly being placed in foster care.
MORE: Missing mum Ellie Yarrow-Sanders tells why she has gone on the run with son Olly
There had been a passionate campaign launched online to raise money for Miss Yarrow-Sanders and encouraging her to keep running, over concerns of fairness in family courts.
The statement also said Mr Sheridan only wanted Olly to be returned and would not make any attempt to have Miss Yarrow-Sanders, her mother or sister “punished”.
Miss Yarrow-Sanders’s mother and sister issued a joint statement with Mr Sheridan, which said: “We just want to know that Olly is safe and we plead for Ellie to return home as soon as possible. We all agree that Olly needs to come home to his normal life surrounded by family and friends.”
Mr Justice Williams had initially raised the alarm about Olly and Miss Yarrow-Sanders at a hearing in December.
He said then that he was gravely concerned for Olly’s welfare.
Miss Yarrow-Sanders disappeared with Olly a few weeks before she was due to give evidence in a “critical” family court hearing, according to lawyers.
Journalists had been barred from identifying anyone involved in the litigation.
But Mr Justice Williams has lifted the identity bar in the hope that publicity will help find Olly and Miss Yarrow-Sanders.
He said family members, who come from Basildon, Essex, could be named and photographs published.
Essex Police are also searching and have urged anyone with information to get in touch.