British teacher guilty of abducting girl (15) to France

Trial heard unnamed pupil had started sexual relationship with Jeremy Forrest

Jeremy Forrest (30), of Chislehurst Road, Petts Wood, Kent, has been found guilty after denying  an offence of child abduction at Lewes Crown Court. Photograph: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Jeremy Forrest (30), of Chislehurst Road, Petts Wood, Kent, has been found guilty after denying an offence of child abduction at Lewes Crown Court. Photograph: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

 

British teacher Jeremy Forrest has been found guilty at Lewes Crown Court of abducting a schoolgirl.

Forrest (30), of Chislehurst Road, Petts Wood, Kent, had denied an offence of child abduction at Lewes Crown Court.

The trial heard how the unnamed pupil had just turned 15 when she started a sexual relationship with Forrest after developing a crush on him at Bishop Bell Church of England School in Eastbourne, East Sussex.

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

The girl was in the public gallery to hear the judge’s summing up and to await the jury’s decision.

Her mother, who told the court she and her daughter had fallen out two months ago, was also in the court sitting separately from her.

Richard Barton, prosecuting, said that Forrest’s actions were an abuse of trust and he had not acted with the consent of the girl’s parents.

He added that Forrest could be labelled a “paedophile” who had “groomed” the vulnerable teenager.

Ronald Jaffa, defending, said that the girl was “desperate and suicidal” and Forrest had gone with the girl to prevent her coming to harm.

Judge Michael Lawson QC, had told the eight men and four women of the jury that they would have to consider that Forrest acted out of “necessity” in order to acquit him.

He said this would have to have been to prevent “imminent death or serious injury” and that his actions were a “reasonable and proportionate” response to the circumstances.

PA