Arab Today, arab today missing british schoolgirl teacher found in france
Last Updated : GMT 14:24:27
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Missing British schoolgirl, teacher found in France

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Arab Today, arab today Missing British schoolgirl, teacher found in France

Bordeaux - AFP

A British schoolgirl and her maths teacher, who triggered a Europe-wide hunt after running away together, have been found in Bordeaux, France, police said on Friday. The teacher, Jeremy Forrest, 30, was arrested and placed in custody in the southwestern city\'s central police station, while Megan Stammers, 15, was under police protection, they said. \"The couple were found on a public street in the centre of Bordeaux,\" a spokesman said, adding that Stammers was in good health and would be reunited with her family \"as soon as possible\". The pair were located thanks to \"credible testimony given 48 hours ago, which did not come from the couple\'s entourage,\" the prosecutor\'s office said. Prosecutors emphasised that French police were not investigating the case but simply carrying out an international arrest warrant issued by British authorities. The pair had not been seen since boarding a cross-Channel ferry together on September 20. 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. Their parents had appealed for them to get in touch but played down fears that the schoolgirl could be in any danger. A European Arrest Warrant had been issued for Forrest, a married part-time musician who had reportedly begun an affair with his pupil. The warrant was issued on the basis of a suspected offence of child abduction although there was never any suggestion that Stammers had not left voluntarily. Police in Sussex, the area of southeastern England where the couple lived, said that they had both been found safe and well as a result of coverage in the French media. French authorities had been accused by the British media of failing to take the disappearance of Stammers seriously after some judicial officials were quoted as saying the couple were not being actively looked for. Under French law, a 15-year-old is not considered a minor in sexual terms, unlike in Britain, where the age of consent is 16. Forrest could however be deemed to have committed a crime in France if he is found to have abused the position of authority he had as Stammers\' teacher. The teacher, who plays in a rock band under the stage name Jeremy Ayre and is married to a 31-year-old woman, had hinted at a \"moral dilemma\" on his blog four months ago. France has open borders with Spain, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg under the Schengen Agreement, which had raised speculation that the pair may have moved on across the continent. Megan\'s stepfather Martin Stammers he was \"over the moon\" after they were found, and thanked French and British police for helping to trace them. \"We have our daughter back and it\'s just such joy,\" he told Sky News outside their house. He said he and Megan\'s mother Danielle Wilson were \"thrilled to bits, just over the moon -- the relief, the outpouring of love from everyone is just amazing. Just so, so happy.\" \"As time goes on you despair even more, but knowing Megan, knowing the girl that she is, we always had that belief that she was strong enough within herself to remain safe and well.\" He said he had \"no comment\" when asked what he felt towards Forrest, who has been arrested. Martin Stammers rejected suggestions in the British press that the French police had been slow to take up the case. \"We\'ve got to thank the French police, of course. Whatever the media portrayed about them not doing anything, they have, and they have been working extremely hard,\" Stammers said. There was no indication of when she would return to Britain, he added. Terry Boatwright, headteacher of Bishop Bell Church of England School, where Megan is a pupil, said the school was \"delighted\" that Megan had been found.

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