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On the run French au pair says she is in rehab and stole to 'buy drugs'.

A FRENCH au pair who went on the run after stealing from her South Wales employers says she did it to buy drugs.

Emeline Essertel, 24, is wanted by police for skipping bail after appearing in court on charges of theft, credit card fraud and possessing CS gas.

But yesterday, she said she stole the debit card to "buy some drugs" and is now in rehab. And she apologised to the Llantwit Major family who took her in as their au pair, adding that she also wanted to say sorry to "your country" for her actions.

But the trained nurse failed to say if she plans to contact police in South Wales to tell them where she is.

This week, a police spokesman said: "Police are pursuing all lines of inquiry in South Wales, London and France in order to trace her."

It is believed that Essertel is staying at a live-in rehab centre in Clermont-Ferrand in southern France.

Yesterday the Western Mail revealed that, since skipping bail in March, the "French-Italian" au pair had taunted the family she stole from by posting pictures on her Faceher book page of herself having a good time back in France.

In one image on the social networking site, she can be seen drinking at a table littered with spirits and mixers and on June 24 she posted a black and white photo of herself standing outside some buildings, tagging it with the place name Chabreloche - a commune in the Auvergne region of central France. In one post on her publicly accessible page, she writes in French: "If someone in your life can make you forget your past, know that this person is your future."

Meanwhile, the au pair had also been logging onto websites on which she advertises services. In one advert, which she updated on April 16 - more than two weeks after she fled South Wales - she writes that she is interested in working in "the field of humanitarian aid", adding: "I want to assure you [of] my experience with children.

During my studies I was able to do internships in various hospitals, primary schools and retirement homes."

When the Western Mail contacted Essertel on Facebook, asking her to explain why she has not returned to the UK to face justice, and why she is still advertising as an au pair despite being accused of criminal charges, she replied in broken English that "all the mistakes" were due to her drug addiction.

Without specifying which drug she is addicted to, she said: "My best reason to leave England is because I need to go [to] rehab. All the mistakes that I made in this country [were] to stole [sic] to buy some drugs. Actually I'm in rehab to start a new life."

She then added: "I apologise [to] your country and the family for all I do and would like to say a biggest sorry."

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 8, 2013
Words:488
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