June 2013

Teacher Forrest jailed for sexual offences and child abduction


Teacher Jeremy Forrest has been jailed for five and a half years after he groomed a 15-year-old pupil for sex then abducted her and took her to France

Forrest pleaded guilty to five charges of sexual activity with a child, a day after he was convicted of child abduction. He admitted the new offences as he appeared at Lewes Crown Court to be sentenced for the abduction charge.

The 30-year-old Maths teacher, who took the pupil to France last year when he was about to be exposed, was not originally charged with sex offences for legal reasons linked to his extradition. The jury took less than two hours to convict Forrest of child abduction on Thursday following an eight-day trial.

The defendant, 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.

Forrest befriended his “vulnerable” victim when she was just 14 . She had just turned 15 when he started having sex with her, having groomed her for several months after she developed a crush on him at Bishop Bell C of E School in Eastbourne, East Sussex.

The court heard that the girl initially turned to Forrest for help with personal problems, enabling him to build a relationship with her before taking advantage of her.

The trial was told that Forrest would pick the girl up in her school uniform and they would have sex 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.

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 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.”

Judge Lawson also imposed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (Sopo) on Forrest banning him from working or volunteering with children and unsupervised contact with children forever.