'Pure elation, pure relief' - stepfather's delight at Megan Stammers being found safe and well in France

 

The phone call that Martin Stammers and his family had spent seven long, arduous days hoping – indeed praying – for finally came shortly before lunchtime today.

Megan’s stepfather, who brought the 15-year-old up from an early age with her mother, Danielle,  emerged from his home in Eastbourne with his thumbs in the air to speak of his “pure elation, pure relief” after being told by Sussex Police that she had been found safe and well minutes earlier in Bordeaux.

Speaking as news of the arrest of Jeremy Forrest, a 30-year-old maths teacher, brought a cavalcade of television cameras and reporters to his doorstep, an elated Mr Stammers, himself a teacher, revealed some of the pressure that the family had been under.

He said: “The relief, the outpouring of love from everyone, has just been amazing. We’re so happy … As time goes on you despair even more, but knowing Megan, knowing the girl she is, I always had that belief that she was strong enough within herself to remain safe and well.”

Asked what his feelings were towards Mr Forrest, with whom he had once worked and found him to be a “nice bloke”, Mr Stammers said: “No comment.”

On the streets of Eastbourne, there was relief that the disappearance which had seen a full procession of British and international media descend on the town had ended with Megan being found safe.

At Bishop Bell Church of England School the headteacher, Terry Boatwright, said everyone was delighted at the outcome.

Mr Boatwright added: “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.”

Last night Megan was expected to be reunited with her family within hours while the maths teacher was being held in the austere headquarters of the Bordeaux police, ahead of a likely fast-tracked return to Britain to face criminal charges.

The fact that Mr Forrest was held on a European Arrest Warrant obtained on Tuesday by Sussex Police means that he can expect to be handed over to British officers and travel back to the UK to face formal questioning after a court hearing scheduled for early next week.

The procedure, which differs from a traditional extradition in so far as the requesting country is not required to produce a full dossier of evidence, could be delayed if Mr Forrest objects to being removed back to Britain.

Once Mr Forrest returns, the process will begin of deciding what charges he should face. He has been arrested on charges of child abduction by taking Megan with him without her parents’ permission.

News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition