'I’m still in love with my teacher' reveals abducted girl (15)
Published 22/06/2013 | 10:48
The schoolgirl abducted by paedophile teacher Jeremy Forrest told how she still loves him and said she had been old enough to make decisions for herself.
Forrest, 30, was jailed for five and a half years yesterday for child abduction and five charges of sexual activity with a child.
The girl apologised for fleeing with him to France when she was 15, but said her feelings towards Forrest had not changed.
She said: "I would like to make it clear that despite the outcome of the trial, my feelings towards Jeremy remain the same, and regardless of unfair and inaccurate speculation, those feelings will not change.
"I am very sorry to those who have been profoundly affected by the things that I have instigated and the consequences of my actions."
The girl thanked her friends and family for their support and for respecting "the decisions that I have made throughout this process, of which they know I was fully capable of making".
During the eight-day trial at Lewes Crown Court the jury was told that Forrest groomed the schoolgirl into having sex with him before taking her to France as he attempted to avoid being caught.
Yesterday the girl's mother told the court "the (daughter) I knew is dead and it upsets me beyond words".
In a statement she said: "I feel completely useless most of the time. I feel like I have failed as a parent as I cannot understand how someone could do this to my child and I had no idea."
She continued: "I feel like the worst mother in the world, whatever anyone else says it doesn't matter. Someone has got my child and I never saw it coming and never saw it as it was happening.
"I feel like part of (her) childhood has been robbed from me - the last day at school, dressing her up in a party dress for the school prom, all taken from us."
She added: "My relationship will never be the same again. She is aiming all her anger at me, that she has to give evidence in court. Somehow that is all my fault, she thinks she cannot trust me again and she has gone to live elsewhere."
Judge Michael Lawson QC sentenced Forrest to four and a half years for the five offences of sexual activity with a child and one year for the offence of child abduction, to run consecutively.
He also imposed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (Sopo) on Forrest, banning him from ever working or volunteering with children and unsupervised contact with children, and he was ordered to sign on the sex offenders register.
He told Forrest: "Your behaviour in this period has been motivated by self-interest and has hurt and damaged many people - her family, your family, staff and pupils at the school and respect for teachers everywhere.
"It has damaged you too but that was something you were prepared to risk. You now have to pay that price."
Police are looking into whether Forrest contacted the girl to influence how she gave evidence at his trial.
Prosecutor Richard Barton told Judge Lawton there was material to suggest that a third party helped pass information between Forrest and his victim after it was found her evidence was different to her original police interviews.
Sussex Police confirmed they were looking into the question of collusion.
Yesterday another teenager came forward to claim Forrest targeted her when she was a schoolgirl.
Chloe Queen, 17, told the Daily Mail that Forrest sent her Christmas and birthday cards, asked her to watch him perform with his band and made her stay after class for extra lessons.
She told the newspaper: "I thought he wanted to teach me more, not realising he possibly had other ideas. He would invade my personal space and make me feel uncomfortable. He would routinely cuddle me."
She added: "He would compliment me all the time and say things like, 'You're a very pretty girl'."
Chole's mother, Lorna Prentice, told the Mail: "It's scary. I'm just so thankful nothing happened to her. He taught her for five years and she would always stay behind after school for extra maths lessons - just the same as the schoolgirl.
"But we never had any suspicions at the time. He was a very good teacher, very caring. Even when she started arguments with him in class, he would never raise his voice."
After yesterday's sentencing Forrest's family said they hoped the case would lead to a full examination of what went wrong.
They added that Forrest was "very sorry" for his actions.