independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Mother "so happy" to have missing Lorna (14) back

Missing  Doncaster schoolgirl Lorna Vickerage
Missing Doncaster schoolgirl Lorna Vickerage

The mother of a 14-year-old girl who was found after going missing with a convicted fraudster has said she is "so happy" her daughter is safe and well.

Lorna Vickerage was found by plain-clothes police at Euston station in central London, with family friend John Bush, 35.

Bush was arrested at the scene, South Yorkshire Police said.

The pair were spotted at 2.35pm following a nationwide hunt.

Lorna's mother, Christine Vickerage, wrote on Facebook this afternoon: "My gawgess lorna has just been found i am so happy."

Lorna went missing from her home near Doncaster on Monday with Bush, who has been described as an accomplished and professional fraudster. Officers said she was in local authority care and had been placed in a foster home on Friday.

It appears they made their way to London via Leicester, Peterborough and Watford. Police said Bush was passing Lorna off as his daughter.

Detective Chief Inspector Craig Robinson, who led the hunt, said: "The staff we sent down from South Yorkshire to London were hot on the trail but, prior to us getting there, BTP (British Transport Police) plain-clothed officers on duty in the station saw the couple and arrested them.

"So it's been a fantastic result. They're both safe and well."

Speaking outside Doncaster police station, Mr Robinson said Lorna's parents were "overwhelmed and over the moon".

He said: "I've personally spoken to the mother and father and updated them with proceedings so far. Lorna will probably be brought back at a later stage tonight or in the morning.

"They feel absolutely overwhelmed and over the moon. They can't say how much they want to thank everyone who's been involved.

"They're absolutely so appreciative, it's unbelievable.

"I'm really pleased that it's come to such a pleasant conclusion, to be honest. You always fear the worst - that these things turn sour."

Mr Robinson said Lorna and Bush were both "fine".

He added that Bush will be taken back from London to South Yorkshire where he will be interviewed.

Explaining more about how the 35-year-old was apprehended, Mr Robinson said: "He's gone to Euston station where two police officers from British Transport Police - who were working in plain clothes and were briefed and had photographs of these two on them - identified them.

"They jumped on John Bush and arrested him and took Lorna into care."

Earlier today, detectives said they had found a Ford Mondeo they believed Bush had been using in the village of Sproxton, near Melton Mowbray, in Leicestershire.

The owner of the Crown Inn in Sproxton, Chris Edmonson, said the pair had stayed for one night and left without paying the bill, leaving the Mondeo in the car park.

He told Sky News: "It was a very good act he put on.

"The young girl looked fine, she was not distressed or anything.

"She looked safe. I thought it was his daughter. It was plausible."

Earlier today, Lorna's mother, made an emotional plea for her daughter's safe return.

Speaking outside Doncaster police station, she said: "John, if you're watching this, fetch our Lorna home. Lorna - you're in no trouble. Just come home, sweetheart."

Detectives said Lorna and Bush had been spotted in Watford last night.

The pair tried to check into a hotel in the Hertfordshire town at 11pm but the card Bush wanted to use was declined, police said.

Another 35-year-old man - not Bush - who was arrested yesterday in connection with the investigation remains in police custody.

Mr Robinson stressed that this man is not believed to be a family friend or relative.

Press Association

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