Tuesday 12 December 2017

Teacher had first kiss with schoolgirl he allegedly abducted in his classroom

Teacher Jeremy Forrest arriving at Lewes Crown Court where he is accused of abducting a pupil.
Teacher Jeremy Forrest arriving at Lewes Crown Court where he is accused of abducting a pupil.

Tom Pugh

A SCHOOLGIRL allegedly abducted to France by her married teacher after police found out about their relationship has told how they first kissed in a classroom.

The girl was 14 at the time of the clinch with 30-year-old Jeremy Forrest, which took place after they had been tweeting and texting regularly.

 

In the days leading up to the kiss, the teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she attended Bishop Bell C of E School in Eastbourne, East Sussex, early specifically to see him.

 

In a videoed police interview played at Lewes Crown Court today, the girl, now 16, said: "I do remember being in his room and it was just me and him. He said 'I really want to kiss you' and I said 'I really want to'.

 

"It got to the point where there was only so much of a friendship you could have before it developed into something else."

 

She went on: "It ended up being in his classroom."

 

As the relationship turned sexual two months later after she had turned 15, the girl said Forrest knew what the consequences would be for him - and that he could face prison.

 

She said in the interview, dated October 3 last year: "He told me that he didn't want to take advantage of me, and I just didn't have a problem with it any way.

 

"It was what I wanted to do because of how much I liked him. I didn't give it a second thought. Obviously I was worried about it and I spoke to my friends about it."

 

She added: "He knew he would go to prison, lose his job and not work with children again, so he was aware and that made me feel better.

 

"There was no naivety about it and it was what I wanted, and I probably encouraged it. We would bring it up and I would say 'Yeah, I really want to'."

 

The court has heard that police were alerted to their relationship following a tip-off.

 

When a police officer and a social worker visited the girl's home to speak to her about what was going on, they decided to flee the next day, September 20.

 

The girl's mother had given police permission to seize and analyse her mobile phone where text messages and pictures exchanged between the pair were stored.

 

Prosecutor Richard Barton has said that, knowing their relationship was about to be exposed, Forrest booked them on a cross-Channel ferry from Dover to Calais before spending seven days on the run.

 

Scots-born Forrest, of Chislehurst Road, Petts Wood, Kent, denies child abduction.

 

The girl spoke of the time she first stayed over at Forrest's house after telling her mother she was having a sleepover with a friend - but said nothing sexual happened.

 

"He picked me up after school - I think it was a Friday - and everything we planned was what happened. We didn't do anything sexual. We slept in the same bed but that's all it was.

 

"I told my friends that nothing was going to happen and I think Jeremy wanted to stick to that as well."

 

She added: "We watched TV and he made me dinner."

 

The following morning, Forrest dropped the teenager off at the top of her road.

 

The teacher had stopped wearing his wedding ring, she said, and disclosed that his marriage was "over" and that he and his wife Emily had separated twice.

 

He also told the girl he wanted her to meet his parents - and suspected that he even showed them a picture of her.

 

"His parents wouldn't let him commit adultery so he thought it would be good if I saw them so that they knew his relationship with Emily was over," she said.

 

As the summer wore on, they spoke about starting a sexual relationship.

 

She said: "In July, we had spoken a lot about a sexual relationship and whether it was what we both wanted and whether we thought it was the right thing."

 

She said she could not remember the first time they had sex but that they did it in "a few hotels" when she would tell her mother she was staying with a friend.

 

"The lead-up was that, just like we had said, we wanted to take things further and it was a natural thing. We had doubts. He felt so guilty about it.

 

"We shouldn't have even been texting, let alone having a sexual relationship."

 

As the girl's police interview progressed, she recalled various locations where she had sex with Forrest - in the spare room of his house, in a Premier Inn hotel and in his car.

 

After they started their sexual relationship, the girl said she was "not feeling guilty or feeling like I'd done anything wrong" and added that she "felt comfortable".

 

She said Forrest always wore a condom, saying that was "just a given".

 

Trying to remember the first time she had sex with Forrest, how many times they had intercourse on that occasion and what they did afterwards, she said: "I think it was twice but I can't remember.

 

"We just went back to what we were doing before - watching TV. It was just normal."

 

The girl said she and Forrest were looking forward to being "close and intimate" and said he was attentive afterwards, "checking to make sure I was OK".

 

The jury heard that the girl was shown Forrest's marital bedroom.

 

"He showed me the bedroom him and Emily used to share," she said.

 

Speaking about how Forrest behaved with her in the period after they first had sex, she said: "He was nice. He was normal. He was exactly how he'd been the whole way through.

 

"After having sex for the first time, it was like a pressure off. I think he was nervous as well.

 

"After a few times of having sex we got used to each other. We just liked being around each other.

 

"He was always really nice and kind and caring and looked after me when we were away."

 

The girl said that, with Forrest's marital issues, she thought he would have been stressed out at times.

 

"I was expecting him to be stressed and angry but he never was," she said.

 

The girl said that as a couple they "made each other happy" and "nothing else mattered".

 

The girl talked about a quiet lane Forrest would drive her down where there was "no-one to see us", and said it was "just a place we could talk face to face".

 

She added: "Sometimes we did have sex in the car."

 

The girl said they referred to each other as "boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend".

 

She said that, as well as having sex, they would engage in other forms of sexual activity.

 

"He asked me if it was OK. We'd already talked about having sex so that didn't really seem like much of a difference," she said.

 

The girl said her friend found her relationship with the teacher "funny", but added that friends warned her to make sure she used protection, to make sure it was what she wanted and also to be careful that she was not caught.

 

When asked by police if she thought or understood there to be a problem with the relationship she was having, she said there was "the teacher thing", adding: "And obviously the age as well."

 

She said that when their ages are put together there is a "bit of a difference", and some may see it as a problem, adding: "For me it's not."

 

The girl admitted to police that it felt like a "relief" that their relationship was finally out in the open.

 

"I've never felt what me and Jeremy have done, or being in a relationship, is wrong, because it feels right," she said.

 

She said she understands why it is wrong from a legal perspective, and admitted that if she was looking at a similar couple she would think it is "not going to work".

 

"I don't know how you'd have anything in common," she added.

 

But that was not the case for her and Forrest, as she said: "Age was literally the least thing I worried about.

 

"We spoke about the future and stuff and what we both wanted out of it."

 

The girl said Forrest had similar views on their age gap.

 

"It didn't really seem to bother him either.

 

"Sometimes I'd just have this weird realisation, like 'Oh my God, you're double my age'," she said.

 

The girl said boys her own age did not interest her and that Forrest gave his blessing to her finding a younger boyfriend.

 

"He did say to me 'I'll understand if you want to find a young boyfriend, like someone in your year'," she said, adding: "Obviously boys in my year are teenagers going through different things, something I wasn't attracted to."

 

The girl said she and Forrest had "normal relationship problems" which she described as "silly stuff" such as her issues with him having a wife and she mentioned instances when he would see "another boy talking to me".

 

The girl said they professed their love for each other around the time they shared their first kiss.

 

"He didn't say he loved me. He just said he was in love with me," she said.

 

The girl told the police about the various social media websites they interacted on and recalled how "sexual photos" were also exchanged.

 

"There was topless ones," she said.

 

The girl said she sent the first photo, adding: "I was just wearing a hooded jacket and underwear.

 

"Nothing was completely showing."

 

She went on: "That was just because we were talking about becoming intimate.

 

"I didn't really have a reason. I just wanted to send it so I did."

 

The girl said Forrest was "really shocked" by the photograph and added that he never asked her for pictures.

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