Missing girls found

SCHOOLGIRLS who went missing from home, sparking a nationwide police hunt, were today reunited with their families.

Teenagers Rosie Conlon and friend Dishani Cooray arrived back in Sunderland after handing themselves in to a police station in Greater Manchester last night.

Rosie, 15, who slept on the streets during her three-day disappearance, said: "It's good to be back home. It was freezing cold sleeping out there.

"I went because I'd just had enough of school. There's been problems for a while and I didn't want to go back.

"We just wandered round the streets most of the time. It was just so cold."

Fears had been growing for the safety of the teens as police examined the possibility they had left to find someone they had met over the internet.

The 15-year-olds disappeared on Wednesday morning, shortly after arriving at St Anthony's School, Sunderland.

But Rosie was today back safe and well at her home in Ford Estate.

She contacted mum Laura minutes before she walked into a police station to hand herself in.

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She added: "I hope the problems at school get sorted out now."

Mum Laura added: "She seems to have been having some trouble at school but we are going to do something about that.

"When I first talked to her she was just sobbing her heart out but she told me she wasn't hurt. I was still on the phone to her as she walked into the police station.

"I know she'd fallen a bit behind at school because she's just had an ear operation but she didn't seem unhappy.

"In fact, on Wednesday morning she seemed fine and had been playing with the cat before she went off to school.

"I'd been really worried because she only had a blazer in her bag and didn't take any clothes with her. She didn't even take her toothbrush and she loves keeping her teeth clean."

Rosie lives at home with Laura and sisters Mary, 20, and Molly, three.

Laura, a post office clerk, added: "I'd like to thank the Echo for helping us out and putting an appeal out for her."

Renouka Cooray, 40, mother of Dishani, said: "We are so relieved she is back safe and well. I got a phone call from the police saying they were both ok and she arrived home late last night.

"It's been a scary time but we're just happy they are home and not hurt."

Dishani of Sulgrave Road, Washington, was brought back home in a police car.

Renouka added: "I was so scared for her. She is such a nice girl who just loves listening to her music."

Rosie, from Fourstones Road, will now make it back in time to be birthing partner to sister Mary who is due in the next few days.

Laura Conlon, 38, Rosie's mum, said: "She's been so looking forward to the baby coming and said she would be there to help her sister.

"It's wonderful to have her back home. She will never do anything like that again."

Teachers at pupils at the girls school had also expressed their concerns as Sunderland detectives contacted other police forces across the country.

Inspector Ron Cruikshanks, from Sunderland CID, said: "They called into a police station in Manchester and expressed a desire to come home.

"Trained police officers will be speaking to them today in a bid to establish where they have been since leaving Sunderland."


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