Friday 22 September 2017

Megan Stammers: Runaway teacher to return to UK after agreeing to extradition

The couple is believed to have spent the six nights at the Huguerie Hotel in Bordeaux
The couple is believed to have spent the six nights at the Huguerie Hotel in Bordeaux

Tom Pugh and Lucy Christie

RUNAWAY teacher Jeremy Forrest will return to the UK after he agreed to his extradition in court today.

Forrest, 30, appeared before magistrates in Bordeaux today, four days after he was arrested on suspicion of child abduction.

The married maths teacher from Ringmer, East Sussex, travelled to France with 15-year-old pupil Megan Stammers on September 20.

A European arrest warrant was issued after the pair failed to use return ferry tickets three days later.

Forrest, who appeared wearing a T-shirt, checked shirt and trousers, confirmed his name and nationality before agreeing to return to the UK.

The court is expected to give his extradition the green light on Thursday.

Outside court, Forrest's British lawyer, Phil Smith, said: "Now that he has agreed to be extradited to the UK, we look forward to the full story emerging.

"He is very appreciative of the support of his family," said Mr Smith, and "concerned about the impact of this on all those concerned".

Forrest, Megan's teacher at Bishop Bell C of E School in Eastbourne, was being kept in detention until his removal.

The teenager has already returned to her hometown and been reunited with mother Danielle Wilson and stepfather Martin Stammers.

Appearing in the dock flanked by a female interpreter and two security guards, Forrest was asked if he agreed to return to the UK to explain himself to the British court authorities, to which he replied "Yes".

The teacher, who gave his birthplace as Aberdeen, then signed a three-page document before the two male and one female magistrates.

Forrest and Megan were spotted in Bordeaux by a member of the public who recognised the teacher from television coverage.

The court in the south-western town's Place de la Republique was packed with French and British media as reporters and cameramen and women crammed into the building ahead of the short hearing.

One lawyer, who did not want to be named, said it was likely that Forrest would be returned as soon as the court rubber-stamped the extradition.

Megan was reported missing when she failed to turn up for school and it emerged she had travelled to France with Forrest, sparking a highly-publicised search.

The pair were spotted on CCTV cameras on a cross-Channel ferry from Dover and later tracked to Bordeaux.

Megan's headteacher, Terry Boatwright, said the school would offer support to the teenager and her family "as they seek to return to some sort of normality".

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