The mother of the schoolgirl abducted by her teacher has spoken of the ‘nightmare’ the family has endured over the last nine months.
The woman, who cannot be named due to legal reasons, issued a statement after Jeremy Forrest, a teacher at Bishop Bell School, was found guilty today (Thursday) of abducting his 15-year-old pupil.
Lewes Crown Court heard the pair went to France when it became likely their relationship would be exposed.
Forrest had denied the charge of child abduction but the jury of eight men and four women found him guilty, following two hours of deliberation.
The girl’s mother paid tribute to her daughter saying she was proud of her and her family, adding, “As a family for the last nine months, it has been like living out your worse nightmare. Every aspect of our lives has been affected to some degree.
“I would like to mention my children and my fiancé. I am so proud of you all. Your lives have been turned upside down yet you have been dignified when knowing the truth, supported each other and shown continuous strength not to allow this to affect the rest of our lives. I love you dearly.”
She added, “I would like to thank everyone at Sussex Police who was involved in the investigation, especially Detective Chief Inspector Mark Ling and his team for their commitment and dedication. Their handling of delicate information has been commendable and I was always be grateful for the care they have shown.
“I would also like to thank East Sussex County Council children’s services for their incredible support for my family during this difficult time.
“To my family and friends - thank you. You have given me overwhelming strength, courage, hope and love, especially during the dark days when the whereabouts of my daughter was unknown, and during this trial. No amount of words can express what you mean to me.
“My sincere thanks also go to the French police, the media and others who were committed to tracing my daughter to ensure her safe return.”