The High Court Appeals For Information In Search As Mum Abducts Three-Year-Old Son
A High Court judge has spoken of his grave concern for the welfare of a three-year-old boy who is a ward of court and has been missing for nearly five months.
At a hearing at the High Court on 19 December 2018 Mr Justice Williams has issued an appeal for information about a mother who ran away with her infant son and has been missing for five months.
Mr Justice Williams has the exceptional step of making Olly a ward of court and turning to the media and the general public in a bid to try to find missing Olly Sheridan. When a child is made a ward of court the court becomes directly responsible for his welfare; this is an very unusual order made only exceptional circumstances.
Olly, aged three years and four months, has been missing with his mother since July. Ellie Yarrow–Sanders, the child’s mother, has defied several court orders demanding she return with her son. The authorities, including the police and the High Court’s Tipstaff, have searched for months but attempts to find her have so far proved fruitless.
In an appeal to Olly’s mother, Ellie Yarrow-Sanders, the judge expressed concern for Olly’s wellbeing and said that in the experience of the court abducted children suffer long-term emotional consequences with the longer the abduction, the worse the consequences for the child.
Olly’s grief-stricken father, Patrick Sheridan, has now instructed specialist family lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help secure his son’s return through the courts. Having conducted extensive enquiries of third-parties, Mr Justice Williams in the High Court has now agreed for Olly’s father to publicise the case.
Ellie’s disappearance happened just a few weeks before she was due to give evidence in a critical hearing in the Family Court at Chelmsford.
Ellie has gone underground since abducting Olly: she has not used her bank accounts or mobile phone since she and Olly disappeared in July. Although originally from Essex, mobile phone records obtained by the courts show that Olly’s maternal grandmother travelled to Huddersfield around the time that Olly went missing – raising concerns that the mother and Olly may be heading there too.
Mr Sheridan has had no contact with his beloved son since then and is desperate to find him. He said: “We’re trying everything to find Olly but it is clear that extensive steps have been taken to conceal where he is. He’s been gone for months now and I miss him every single day. It’s just been a living nightmare no parent should have to go through and I’m sick with worry."
“The run up to Christmas has been unbearable for us this year knowing we might not get to see him, but I live in hope every day that we’ll find him.”
This week the High Court has taken the unusual move of approving a publicity order allowing the media to report the case and publish photographs of Olly and Ellie Yarrow-Sanders to try and find them by raising awareness – which may be Mr Sheridan’s only chance of locating his son.
“We’re left with no choice but to go public on this very private family matter to get any information we can on his whereabouts,” added Mr Sheridan. “I’m so desperately worried about my son and just want him home.
"My message to Ellie is simple: “Please come back so that we can see Olly’s alright. That’s all I want.”
Jenna Lucas, the specialist family lawyer representing Mr Sheridan, said:
Expert Opinion“Patrick and his family are going through a heart-breaking situation that no parent wants to or should ever have to experience.
“He just wants to carry on going through the proper process so a judge can decide what the arrangements are and what time Olly spends with each of his parents. Ellie has taken matters into her own hands and has been in breach of court orders for months.
“When a parent takes their child away without the permission of the other parent, it is a very serious matter. There is a good chance that Ellie and anyone else who is helping her or withholding information could face prison for being in contempt of court.” Jenna Lucas - Senior Associate
As the search for Olly intensifies, Mr Sheridan is left with the prospect of a heart-breaking Christmas without his son. “My Christmas wish is just to be able to see my little boy again.”
Any person with any information to give as to Olly’s whereabouts should contact Essex Police on 101.