Runaway schoolgirl found safe in France

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A schoolgirl who went missing with a 49-year-old man she met on the internet has been found safe and well in France.

Laura Stainforth, 15, from School Walk, Cleethorpes, north east Lincolnshire, was found with Robert Williams in Lille.

Williams was arrested at the scene by French police officers and has been taken in custody.

Humberside Police said the arrest was made after Williams and Laura attended the consulate in Lille.

Local French police officers attended and arrested Williams at the scene before taking him into custody, a spokeswoman for Humberside Police said.

Officers from Humberside Police are currently en route to France to bring Laura back into the country.

Detective Chief Inspector Sharon Fielding said: "It goes without saying, I am delighted that Laura has been found in Lille and we are now working alongside French authorities and Laura's family to ensure that she arrives back in the country as soon as possible and returns to her family.

"There is still a lot of work to be done, however, and we are working to ensure the extradition of Williams.

"I would like to thanks all of the members of public who assisted by reporting numerous sightings of Laura - one of which led us to locating Laura in Lille - and would also like to thank the local, national and European media for their help in facilitating our appeals."

Laura went missing on Wednesday last week after leaving her home at around 3.30pm to go to the shops.

She was reported missing by her family at 9.23pm that night.

The teenager and Williams were captured on CCTV footage at Grimsby railway station on Wednesday evening.

Detectives believe they took a train to Doncaster, South Yorkshire, before travelling to London, and on to Dover.

Laura was then spotted by a member of the public in Dover on Thursday and was later seen on the Pride of Kent ferry, which was travelling from Dover to Calais, that afternoon.