Missing schoolgirl Megan Stammers found 'safe and well' in France

 

Police said today that the missing schoolgirl Megan Stammers and her teacher, Jeremy Forrest, have been located in France.

Police issued a European arrest warrant for Forrest, who has been the subject of a massive manhunt since boarding a Dover to Calais ferry last Thursday with Megan - one of his pupils.

Both Megan Stammers and Jeremy Forrest are said to be safe and well.

Today police said the 15-year-old has been taken into protection and Forrest, 30, had been arrested on suspicion of child abduction. They were found at around 12.15pm today UK time.

Police would not reveal the exact location, though some reports in the French media claim they were found in Bordeaux.

Sussex police said the information that led to their discovery had come directly as a result of French media coverage.

Police said the families had been informed and arrangements were being made for them to return to the UK.

Megan Stammers was reported missing last week after failing to turn up for school on Friday.

CCTV images of her and a teacher at her school boarding a ferry to Calais later emerged.

It was reported that the pair had tickets to return on Sunday, but did not board the ferry back to the UK.

The families of both the missing girl and her teacher had made emotional appeals in recent days for them to get in touch and come home.

Mr Forrest's father yesterday made an emotional appeal for his son to turn himself in.

A visibly distraught Jim Forrest said: "Hi Megan, hi Jeremy, I hope this message reaches you and you are both OK. There are a lot of people back home that are desperate to hear from you. All I am asking is for one of you to make a call, send an email, so we know you are both safe.

"We are all here for you both. Please, please get in contact."

A number of reported sightings had placed the pair in Paris. Yesterday Sussex police force received seven phone calls with information about the whereabouts of the missing pair following a section on the BBC programme CrimeWatch.

On Monday the 15-year-old's mother Danielle Wilson, sitting beside father Martin Stammers, also pleaded for her safe return.

She said: "You know that your adorable princess wants her adorable mermaid back."

Following the location of the pair in France Megan's stepfather told reporters he was "over the moon" that the 15-year-old had been found safe and well. Mr Stammers said Megan would be home "very soon".

"The relief, the outpouring of love from everyone, has just been amazing. We're so happy," he continued.

He said he felt "pure elation, pure relief that she is just safe and well", and went on: "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."

He also thanked police and campaign supporters on Twitter and Facebook for their help in maintaining publicity for the case.

At a press conference this afternoon the stepfather of Megan Stammers said he is "so relieved" she has been found safe and well in France.

Mr Stammers said he and his wife Danielle could not "wait to be reunited with her".

Terry Boatwright, headteacher of Bishop Bell C of E School, which Megan attends, said: "Everyone in the Bishop Bell School community is delighted that Megan has been found and can now be reunited with her family, who must be so relieved.

"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."

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