A British mother convicted of putting her two children at risk of harm after sailing them in a dingy in the Channel has been spared jail.
Teacher Lauren Etchells, 34, had fled Canada with her children after going on the run from her ex-partner Tasha Brown.
She fled to Europe with her then new partner Marco van der Merwe, who had been a sperm donor for her second child. They reportedly later split up.
Etchells was on the run for three years and her travels took her to England, France, the Netherlands, the Middle East and possibly to Spain and Portugal, police said.
She was finally caught after washing up in a 13ft-long inflatable dingy in Jersey with her parents after crossing from France in July 2019, despite them trying to deceive immigration staff.
Image: Etchells’ parents Angela and Brian Etchells were also spared jail
In December, Etchells was convicted at Jersey Magistrates’ Court of two charges of exposing a child to risk of harm.
Her parents, Brian Etchells and Angela Hardy, both 68, were convicted of two charges of aiding and abetting exposing a child to risk of harm.
More from Jersey
All three had pleaded guilty to making a false representation under immigration law.
On Monday, they were each given six-month prison sentences, suspended for 12 months, and fined £500.
They must also pay costs of £1,600 between them.
Assistant magistrate Peter Harris said: “Together they were using Jersey in an attempt to avoid compliance with a Canadian court order.”
He acknowledged the efforts made to reduce the risk of harm to the children, and that no harm was actually sustained.
But he added: “The waters around Jersey can be very dangerous. Both children were exposed to a risk of harm.”
Prosecutor Simon Crowder told the court how all three had initially claimed they had come to Jersey from France “with the intention of having lunch”.
Sarah Dale, defending Lauren Etchells, said: “Miss Etchells believed that she and also her parents had taken all relevant precautions to ensure the safety of the children during the crossing.
“Miss Etchells’s children are the greatest importance in her life and whatever her motive for making that crossing, she was adamant that she would not do anything at all that she felt put them at risk or endangered them.”
Source : Sky News