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France

France to extradite runaway British teacher

Latest update : 2012-10-04

A French court agreed Thursday to hand British teacher Jeremy Forrest to UK authorities, but "not before Monday", according to AFP. Forrest fled the UK with 15-year-old student Megan Stammers and faces possible kidnapping charges in the UK.

A French court in the southwestern city of Bordeaux on Thursday ordered the extradition of a British man who fled his country with a 15-year-old schoolgirl.

Jeremy Forrest, 30, faces charges of kidnapping a minor after running away to France with teenager Megan Stammers.

Sources close to the investigation told AFP news agency the mathematics teacher would be extradited on October 8, adding that two British officials would travel to Bordeaux to accompany Forrest on his journey home.

Forrest eloped with Stammers on September 20 but the pair were tracked down by French police just over a week later in Bordeaux.

The man’s arrest followed a massive outcry in the British media and appeals from family members on both sides for the couple to hand themselves in.

While Stammers was flown home, Forrest remained behind and agreed to be extradited to the UK to face questioning by British judicial authorities.

‘Teacher wants to tell his story’

The teacher’s lawyer Daniel Lalanne said his client is keen to tell his side of the story.

"Now that Jeremy has agreed to be extradited back to the UK as soon as possible, we look forward to the story emerging, the full story emerging, in the coming months," his British lawyer Philip Smith said.

Forrest, who has a 31-year-old wife, risks a minimum three-year term in Britain.
It has emerged the pair boarded a cross-Channel ferry together before travelling to Paris where they abandoned Forrest’s car.

Police have thus far assumed that Stammers left with Forrest of her own accord, while the girl’s parents downplayed fears she was in danger.

Stammers started using her Twitter account again back home, writing "Thanks for all the nice messages of support, it's meant a lot to me and my family, we really appreciate it," the UK's Telegraph daily reported.

Under French law, a 15-year-old is not considered a minor in sexual terms, unlike in Britain, where the age of consent is 16.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)
 

Date created : 2012-10-04

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