Missing teenager teacher in custody
on 28/09/2012 19:25:20
Jeremy Forrest, 30, was arrested on suspicion of child abduction in Bordeaux today after he and the 15-year-old disappeared together for a week.
ITV News reported that Forrest was expected to appear before a French court on Tuesday.
Channel 4 News reported that Megan will be flown out of Bordeaux airport back to the UK this evening.
The programme added that Forrest will appear before a French court tonight as well as on Tuesday.
They were spotted in the town yesterday by a member of the public who recognised Forrest from television coverage, chief inspector Jason Tingley from Sussex Police said.
It was the third potential sighting of the pair in the city, and they were tracked down shortly after midday today.
Megan's stepfather Martin Stammers told reporters at a press conference tonight: "We just can't wait to be reunited with her. Our family are overjoyed at the outcome. As you can imagine it's been an absolute emotional rollercoaster."
It is understood that the teenager has already spoken to her family, and as they are not legally required to go and collect her she is expected to be reunited with them on British soil in the coming days.
Thanking the police, media and members of the public for maintaining publicity in the case, Mr Stammers said: "I just can't put it into words how grateful we are as a family."
He asked that they are left alone in private to "bond as a family" after her disappearance.
Mr Tingley said: "Megan is now in the care of British consular staff and Sussex Police child protection team officers. She will be returned to the UK to be with her family.
"Jeremy is in custody in Bordeaux after his arrest and the process of his extradition will now commence."
Megan, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, was reported missing when she failed to turn up for school last Friday, and it emerged that she had travelled with Forrest to France the previous evening, sparking a highly publicised search.
Forrest's parents Jim and Julie Forrest said in a statement: "We are pleased that Megan and Jeremy have been found safe and well. This has been an ordeal for all the families concerned.
"We would like to thank Sussex and the French police as well as the British media for their assistance.
"We are relieved that the search is finally over and everyone can now focus on a safe and secure return for them both."
Terry Boatwright, headteacher of Bishop Bell C of E School, which Megan attends, said everyone was "delighted" that she had been found.
He went on: "Throughout the last week, finding Megan has been everyone's priority and a major focus of our thoughts and prayers in school. Clearly, much needs to be done now to support Megan, and her family, as they seek to return to some sort of normality and we will do all we can to play our part in that."
It was claimed that concerns had been raised about the teenager's relationship with her teacher as early as February, when her friend told another teacher that they had been seen holding hands.
East Sussex Council said it is investigating what happened.