POLICE were today hunting for a married teacher who is believed to have run away to France with a 15-year-old pupil.
Jeremy Forrest, 30, a maths teacher at Bishop Bell Church of England School in Eastbourne, was last seen boarding a cross-Channel ferry with Megan Stammers, a pupil at the school.
There have been no sightings of the pair since they left Britain and Megan’s parents have issued an urgent appeal for their daughter to contact them and let them know she is safe and well.
Her father, Martin Stammers, said: “We just want Megan to make contact with us. We are worried and miss her terribly. Please get in touch Megan.”
He later said: “It’s been hell. We have no idea where she is.”
It was alleged Mr Forrest had been contacting Megan on Twitter over several months, with one message allegedly reading: “Me & you. Let’s just run away.”
In another, he is reported to have said: “I wanna wake up naked next to you.”
Mr Forrest, from Lewes, East Sussex, married Emily Faulder, a 31-year-old photographer, last year in Brighton. It is not clear whether the couple had split before Mr Forrest left with Megan on Friday. There was no answer at their home last night.
Neighbours of Mr Forrest and his wife Emily claimed the couple had rowed “constantly” during the last three years, in argument so intense one sometimes telephoned the police.
The alarm was raised on Friday when Mr Forrest and Megan did not turn up at school. Several hours later they were caught on CCTV at Dover, boarding a ferry bound for Calais.
Sussex Police have been liaising with their French counterparts and descriptions of the pair have been widely circulated across the Channel.
Officers have urged motorists and holidaymakers in France to be on the lookout for Mr Forrest’s black Ford Fiesta, registration GJ08 RJO, in which they are believed to be travelling. Chief Inspector Jason Tingley, of Sussex Police, said: “We need Megan or Jeremy to make contact with us to help us return her safely to her family.”
He stressed that police did not believe that Megan was in any danger.
Many of Megan’s fellow pupils took to social networking sites to express their shock at the news. One wrote: “Why did you do this? You were like my favourite teacher as well.”
Mr Forrest’s father Jim last night said the family “cannot believe” it and urged him to make contact. He added he had attempted to call the “popular” teacher, but said “his phone is off”.
In a blog in May this year Mr Forrest spoke of having a “moral dilemma” which left him “wondering how should we, define what is right or wrong, acceptable or unacceptable?”.
He concluded: “I was satisfied that if you can look yourself in the mirror and know that, under all the front, that you are a good person, that you should have faith in your own judgment.”
It is not the first time the Bishop Bell School has been hit by a scandal.
Earlier this year it emerged that a retired priest had been allowed to remain a governor for more than a year after child sex allegations came to light.
Canon Gordon Rideout, 73, was charged in June with 38 sexual offences against children and young teenagers dating back to the 1960s and 1970s.
Martin Evans Telegraph.co.uk