UK - Married maths teacher, 30, who ran away to France with one of his pupils, 15, in court this morning to face child abduction charge.
The married teacher who ran away to France with a 15-year-old schoolgirl has arrived at court Wednesday morning to appear before magistrates in Eastbourne.
Jeremy Forrest, 30, was released from jail near Bordeaux, in the south-west of the country, before boarding a flight to Gatwick Tuesday after almost two weeks in prison. He has been charged with child abduction. He and teenager Megan Stammers disappeared from her home town of Eastbourne, East Sussex, on September 20, sparking a Europe-wide search.
The pair took a cross-Channel ferry to Calais in Forrest’s Ford Fiesta before abandoning the car in Paris. They then took a train to Bordeaux, where they stayed in budget hotels while Forrest looked for bar work.
French police arrested Forrest a week ago last Friday.
Forrest, from Ringmer, is a maths teacher at a school in Eastbourne, which Megan attends. The teenager returned to her hometown on September 29, where she was reunited with her mother and stepfather
Forrest was taken into custody when he arrived at Gatwick. A Bordeaux police spokesman said he had been returned to the UK under the terms of a European Arrest Warrant. Forrest’s UK solicitor Phil Smith has said his client looks forward to the ‘full story’ emerging in the coming months. His French lawyer Daniel Lalanne said he insists he never hurt Megan.
Megan was reported missing when she failed to turn up for school and it emerged she had travelled to France with Forrest. The pair were spotted on CCTV cameras on a cross-Channel ferry from Dover to Calais and later tracked to Bordeaux where they were recognised by a member of the public who had seen television coverage of the case. Before her disappearance, the schoolgirl told her mother that she was going to spend the night at a friend’s house.
The investigation was ramped up when she and Forrest failed to use return ferry tickets on September 23. A European Arrest Warrant was issued and the case featured on BBC’s Crimewatch. It has been claimed that Forrest was due to be suspended by the school the day before he and the teenager went to France. East Sussex County Council has confirmed it and school officials were 'addressing and investigating concerns', but it has not said when those were made and declined to comment on suggestions he was facing suspension. The schoolgirl’s headteacher said the school would offer support to the teenager and her family 'as they seek to return to some sort of normality'.
Why would Jeremy Forrest do such a thing? Why didn't he think of consequences? Why with a minor - the girl's 15, for Lord's sake?!