Wednesday 13 December 2017

Teacher found guilty of abducting schoolgirl

Ben Mitchell

A teacher who "groomed" a 15-year-old girl before taking her to France when he was about to be exposed, has been found guilty of child abduction.

A jury took less than two hours to convict Jeremy Forrest (30) following an eight-day trial at Lewes Crown Court in Sussex, England.

Forrest, who remained stony-faced, turned to the girl and said: "I love you," as the verdict was about to be announced.

The girl sobbed and said: "I am sorry," as he was led back to the cells.

The trial heard how the pupil had just turned 15 when Forrest started having sex with her, having groomed the teenager after she developed a crush on him.

Fearing they were about to be discovered, Forrest booked them on a ferry from Dover to Calais in France on September 20 last year before spending seven days on the run in France.

The trial heard that Forrest would pick the girl up in her school uniform and would have sex with her in his car, in hotels and at his marital home.

The girl told a friend that they had sex up to eight times a night.

The defendant also sent the girl "indecent images" of himself showing his naked torso with his hands down his underpants. She responded with pictures of her naked breasts.

The police and the school's failure to prevent Forrest running off with the girl has come under heavy criticism over their handling of the case.

Police were not alerted until seven months after first concerns were raised and then when they were notified they held a meeting, rather than question or arrest Forrest immediately.

Richard Barton, prosecuting, said Forrest's actions were an abuse of trust. He said Forrest could be labelled a "paedophile" who had groomed the vulnerable teenager.

Forrest will be sentenced today.

Irish Independent

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