29 Sep 2012

British schoolgirl and teacher found in France

10:20 pm on 29 September 2012

A British schoolgirl and her married maths teacher, who triggered a Europe-wide hunt after running away together a week ago, have been found by police in France.

British police said Jeremy Forrest, 30, has been arrested on suspicion of abducting 15-year-old Megan Stammers. The pair were found strolling down Bordeaux's main shopping street.

Mr Forrest faces extradition to Britain, while the girl is being looked after by British consular staff and child protection officers, police told a news conference in their home county of Sussex in southeast England, AFP reports.

Chief Inspector Jason Tingley said the girl would be returned to Britain to be with her family. He said the two were found on Thursday after a member of the public saw Mr Forrest in Bordeaux and recognised him from television coverage.

The pair had not been seen since boarding a cross-Channel ferry together on 20 September. CCTV pictures were released of them holding hands and walking arm in arm onboard the ferry from Dover to the northern French port of Calais.

There was never any suggestion that Miss Stammers was taken by Mr Forrest against her volition. The teacher is married to a 31-year-old woman and had hinted at a "moral dilemma" on his blog four months ago.

The girl's stepfather, Martin Stammers, said on Friday he was "over the moon" after the pair were found and thanked French and British police for helping to trace them.