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EDITIONS
Saturday, 14 December, 2002, 02:17 GMT
Turk charged with raping British 'bride'
Mehmet Ocak and Rachael Lloyd
Mehmet Ocak had met Rachael while she was on holiday
A barman has been charged with the rape of a 14-year-old British girl who ran away to Turkey to marry him.

Mehmet Ocak, 24, is accused of the statutory rape of Rachael Lloyd, from Wrexham, north Wales.

Rachael vanished from home two weeks ago, leaving no trace of her whereabouts. She later contacted her family, saying she had married Mr Ocak and had no intention of returning home.

Turkish law prohibits girls under 15 from marrying.

'Horrendous'

Police eventually traced Rachael to Mr Ocak's flat in the Turkish city of Gaziantep.

Her mother spoke of her relief that Rachael had been found.

Karen Thomas, 40, said: "I feel over the moon. I'm really pleased. It has been horrendous."

Bob Lloyd, Rachael's father
Bob Lloyd has flown out to collect Rachel
Mrs Thomas, who referred to Mr Ocak by the nickname Steve, admitted that she and her daughter needed "help" from social services.

She said: "Last time Rachael was over there she said she wanted to be with him.

"She said she only focuses on Steve and nothing else. She is besotted by him and she doesn't listen to anyone else at all.

"We're talking to social services to get some help for her because she is so mixed up. She needs help, I need help, we all need help."

Rachael was being cared for by Gaziantep's social services, while her father, Bob Lloyd, flew out to Istanbul. Both are then due to return to Britain.

Rachael met Mr Ocak in the Mediterranean resort of Marmaris, while on holiday in May.

She then returned to Turkey at a later date and became engaged to Mr Ocak in the presence of her mother and her older sister, according to the Turkish authorities.

She returned to Turkey by herself on 1 December.

We're talking to social services to get some help for her because she is so mixed up

Mother Karen Thomas
Her parents had previously confiscated her passport, but it is thought she may have forged her father's signature to obtain a new one.

She telephoned her mother to say she had got married and was staying with her new husband.

Photographs of Rachael in a bridal gown are said to have been found at the flat by the Turkish authorities.

Mr Ocak is reported to have claimed he thought Rachael was older than she was.

The barman could spend up to 10 months in jail if he is found guilty of having sex with a minor.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jonny Dymond reports from Istanbul
"She is in the care of Turkish social services"

More from north east Wales
See also:

11 Dec 02 | Country profiles
13 Dec 02 | Wales
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