Jeremy Forrest will not fight extradition

 

Teacher Jeremy Forrest who went missing with his teenage pupil Megan Stammers will not fight extradition proceedings against him and has agreed to return to the UK “as soon as possible”, his lawyers said today.

The 30-year-old was arrested on suspicion of child abduction after the pair were found in the French town of Bordeaux on Thursday.

Phil Smith, from Tuckers Solicitors, said in a statement: "He has agreed to return to the UK as soon as possible without the need for protracted extradition proceedings."

Fifteen-year-old Megan is expected to travel back to her hometown of Eastbourne, East Sussex, today more than a week after she went missing with her 30-year-old teacher.

Forrest, Megan's maths teacher at Bishop Bell C of E School, in Eastbourne, remains in police custody in France.

It is understood it will be a number of days before he is returned to the UK as he awaits to appear in court in France on Tuesday.

Megan's parents have already been in contact with their daughter by telephone but have remained in the UK as they await her return, a Sussex Police spokesman said.

Officers plan to speak with Megan once she has met with mother Danielle Wilson and stepfather Martin Stammers, he added.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: "Megan is likely to return today to be reunited with her family and to speak with police."

An officer from Sussex Police's child protection team travelled to Bordeaux to meet Megan after she was found, while a detective inspector from the force was already in France as part of the ongoing search for the teenager, the spokesman said.

The pair were spotted in Bordeaux 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 yesterday.

Last night Megan's family expressed their joy that she had been found.

Mr Stammers told reporters at a press conference: "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."

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 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 said: "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 was investigating what happened.

PA

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