Mom, 28, who fled overseas along with her toddler son WINS custody battle

The 28-year-old mother, who fled abroad with her toddler son, wins the custody battle – and speaks of her desperation after her return to Great Britain

  • Ellie Yarrow-Sanders disappeared with Olly in 2018, triggering a police chase
  • “At the time, I really believed he was going to be kidnapped – and that was the end of my rational thinking,” she said after returning to the UK
  • The 28-year-old from Basildon has returned to the UK and lives with her son

A mother who fled abroad during a bitter custody battle with her young son has won a fight for life with her.

Ellie Yarrow-Sanders disappeared with Olly in 2018, sparking a hunt by police and court officials.

At one point, a Supreme Court judge lifted the registration restrictions on the case in the family courts and appealed for her to come home via Twitter.

Now it turns out that the 28-year-old from Basildon, Essex, has returned to the UK and lives in a secret place with her six-year-old.

After a 16-month dispute in Chelmsford Family Court – which cannot be further described due to registration restrictions – a judge has ruled that Olly can live with his mother and spend time with his father, Patrick Sheridan.

In her first interview after being in hiding for eight months, Miss Yarrow-Sanders told Channel 4 Dispatches why she had left the country.

“It was really just despair,” she said. ‘A lawyer I represented said,’ If we don’t and can’t agree, there will be a nursing case and you will lose it. ‘

“I really believed at the time that he was going to be kidnapped – and that was the end of my rational thinking, I would say.” She is now of the opinion that there should be more “transparency” in family courts.

Ellie Yarrow-Sanders disappeared with Olly in 2018, sparking a hunt by police and court officials

“I have no objection to my evidence being shown to the world,” she said. “Children google themselves, don’t they? Children google people they know.

“You google my name and I’m a child kidnapper. Why shouldn’t I be allowed to set the record right? The overwhelming obstacle is the lack of transparency – it’s a system that is designed to be confidential, I suppose. “

It’s now been three years since Miss Yarrow-Sanders, who once ran a coffee shop with her mother Donna, and her son just weeks before a “critical” hearing in family court with her former partner, a 48-year-old civil engineer.

Dad: Patrick Sheridan and Olly

Dad: Patrick Sheridan and Olly

In the run-up to Christmas 2018, when she reportedly had not used her cell phone or bank account for five months, Mr Justice Williams – who was overseeing the case in family courts – made Olly a guardian and expressed ‘great concern’ for his welfare. He made a direct request to Miss Yarrow-Sanders on the Justice Department’s Twitter account using the hashtag #comehomeolly. In a statement released by his legal team at the time, Mr. Sheridan said, “I am so worried about my son and just want him at home.

‘My message to Ellie is simply,’ Please come back so we can see that Olly is fine. ‘ That’s all I want

“We are doing everything we can to find Olly, but it is clear that great steps have been taken to hide his whereabouts. He’s been gone months now and I miss him every day.

“It was just a living nightmare no parent should go through and I am worried sick. The pre-Christmas season was unbearable for us this year as we know we may not see him, but I live every day hoping that we will find him. ‘

Afterward, Miss Yarrow-Sanders sent her mother, Donna, and her sister, Maddie, a letter saying, “This is the only thing I can do to make Olly feel like a childhood with his mother.

“I am really sorry to leave you all, but we have no other choice and I promise we will be fine. I’ll never let anything happen to Olly. I love my son endlessly. ‘

n Broadcasts: Torn: Family Courts Uncovered can be seen on channel 4 at 10 p.m. tomorrow.


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