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Sunday, 15 December, 2002, 05:11 GMT
Runaway 'bride' returns home
Rachael Lloyd arrives at Manchester Airport
Rachael Lloyd arrived at Manchester Airport amid a media scrum
A 14-year-old British girl who ran away from home to marry a Turkish barman has arrived back in the UK.

Rachael Lloyd, from Wrexham, north Wales, flew back from Turkey with her father Bob and sister Beckie, 16, who had gone out to fetch her.

Their flight from Istanbul touched down in Manchester at 1109 GMT on Sunday, but Rachael made no comment to waiting reporters.

Rachael Lloyd and Mehmet Ocak
Ocak had "no idea" Rachael was only 14

Barman Mehmet Ocak, 24, has reportedly been released without charge after originally being detained on suspicion of statutory rape.

When reporters on Saturday asked Rachael if she was glad to be returning home, she tearfully shook her head and answered: "No".

"I want to be with Steve [her nickname for Mr Ocak] because I love him," she said.

Rachel sparked a manhunt when she ran away from home two weeks ago to visit Mr Ocak.

She later phoned her family to say she had married Mr Ocak and had no intention of returning home.

Turkish police traced the couple to Mr Ocak's flat in the south-eastern city of Gaziantep.

He was detained while she was taken into the care of Turkish social services.

'Certainly not married'

A British Consulate official, who is travelling with Rachael and her family, said Rachael was "perfectly all right".

He said she was "certainly not married" as it was legally impossible - but he was unsure whether there had been a ceremony of some kind.

"To marry in Turkey you have to be 18 years old or 16 or 17 with parents' permission, so it is impossible," he said.

Rachael Lloyd being steered by her sister Beckie after they were reunited
The couple were still holding hands after police tracked them down
Mr Ocak was reportedly released on Saturday without charges.

"Her father decided not to press charges and Ocak has now been released," a spokesman for Gaziantep police told Reuters news agency.

Mr Ocak was reported as saying he had no idea Rachael was only 14.

"I thought Rachael was 24," Turkey's semi-official Anatolia news agency quoted him as saying.

"Her family knew we were together here."

'Besotted'

In Wrexham, social services and the education department have said they will meet to discuss the future care needs of Rachael.

I want to be with Steve because I love him

Rachael Lloyd

Rachael's mother Karen Thomas has previously said her daughter was "besotted" with Mr Ocak - and that the family needed "help" from social services.

Rachael, who usually lives with her grandmother Carol, 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 grandmother and her older sister, according to the Turkish authorities.

At the airport returning home, Rachael refused to board the plane and took a taxi back to Marmaris. A day later the British Consulate sent her home.

She returned to Turkey by herself on 1 December.

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


More from north east Wales
See also:

11 Dec 02 | Country profiles
13 Dec 02 | Wales
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