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EDITIONS
Thursday, 16 January, 2003, 13:58 GMT
Runaway bride called to testify
Rachael Lloyd arrives at Manchester Airport
Rachael Lloyd was brought home by her father
A Wrexham schoolgirl who ran away to Turkey to be with her 24-year-old bartender boyfriend whom she had met on a holiday there is being called to give evidence at his trial.

Rachael Lloyd, who has just turned 15, is set to return to Gaziantep in Turkey, next month to testify at the trial of Mehmet Ocak on charges of statutory rape.

The teenager was brought back to Britain after her father, Bob Lloyd, pursued her in December.

Mr Lloyd has confirmed that a lawyer in Turkey has been in touch with the family to ask that Rachael give evidence at Ocak's trial.

Bob Lloyd, Rachael's father
Bob Lloyd flew out to collect Rachel

He said that the teenager, who received an engagement ring from Mr Ocak for her 15th birthday, has said that she is ready to go and wants to help her boyfriend get out of jail.

Prosecutors there say Mr Ocak could be facing up a sentence of up to seven years if he is found guilty.

The trial is set to begin on 18 February and Mr Lloyd says he and his girlfriend will travel to Turkey with Rachael a few days beforehand.

But he says this trip will not be like the holidays his daughter has enjoyed in Turkey in the past.

She will be strictly chaperoned at all times, he says, and will be coming back to Wrexham as soon as possible.

Rachael's mother, Karen Thomas, gave assurances on her daughter's return from Turkey, that the family would work closely with social services.

She said: "We're talking to social services to try to get some help for her because she's so mixed up."

Her comments echo those of Rachael's father, Bob Lloyd.

He said that Rachael was "strong-headed" but he has refused to blame her for sparking a manhunt.

"We're all to blame - we've got to work with Rachael now to get on with our lives," he said.

Locator map showing Gaziantep
Rachael was found in Gaziantep

When reporters in Turkey first found Rachael and asked 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.

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

"I thought Rachael was 24," a Turkish news agency quoted him as saying.

Rachael, who usually lives with her grandmother Carol, met Mr Ocak in the Mediterranean resort of Marmaris, while on holiday in May.

She later returned to Turkey and became engaged in the presence of her grandmother and her older sister, according to the Turkish authorities.

Passport

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.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales' Glen Goodman
"We're led to believe she's still very much smitten."

More from north east Wales
See also:

11 Dec 02 | Country profiles
13 Dec 02 | Wales
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