JEREMY Forrest, the maths teacher at the centre of one of the biggest manhunts in Sussex police history after running off with Eastbourne schoolgirl, Megan Stammers, used to work with her step-father.
Martin Stammers, who appeared on the BBC’s “Crimewatch” programme last night to appeal for his step-daughter come home, currently teaches at the Causeway School in Larkspur Drive.
Thirty year-old Mr Forrest worked with Mr Stammers at the Causeway School in 2010 and has said that the “he seemed like a nice bloke”.
This summer, Megan had been receiving extra-curricular maths lessons from Mr Forrest, but did not suspect any relationship.
The Causeway School works closely with Bishop Bell School where Megan was a pupil and Mr Forrest teaches – Terry Boatwright, who has come under fire for Bishop Bell’s safeguarding policy, is executive headteacher serving both schools.
Mr Stammers, 43, told The Sun: “I knew Forrest as a colleague. He worked at a twin school.
“He did some work for us about two years ago. He did some work for us about two years ago. He seemed a nice enough fellow – there was nothing out of the ordinary about him.
“But this is all about Megan and getting her back – then the police can deal with him.”
While the disappearance of Megan and her maths teacher has dominated newspaper headlines and led both television and radio news headlines, the story has received muted reaction on the continent.
Yesterday, Chief Inspector Jason Tingley from Sussex Police told a press conference that a European arrest warrant and an international letter of request had been issued for Mr Forrest.
However, according to the BBC’s Paris correspondent, Christian Fraser, reaction from the French media has been limited.
He said the “fundamental” problem is that Megan is over the age of consent and considered old enough under French law to think for herself.
“There’s been no reaction in the French papers apart from a few short stories that have been recycled from the UK press,” he said.
“And the French know they could be anywhere in Europe - you could drive to Poland without having to produce your passport.
“If there was a French girl missing in Britain in similar circumstances, what would the reaction from the press be?
“It’s not their priority as they don’t think the girl is in danger and she’s old enough under French law to think for herself.”
The Sun is this morning reporting a sighting of Megan in Paris on Sunday. According to Brigitte Ripley from Surrey, she saw the Eastbourne teenager strolling hand-in-hand with Mr Forrest along the Champs-Elysees on Sunday.
“I’m as sure as I can be that it was Megan, she seemed fine,” Brigitte told The Sun.
“I saw a young girl with an older man. I noticed her as she had a similar bird-patterned blouse — I’m as sure as I can be it was Megan. She was in front of me, a youngish girl with long, dark hair. She seemed fine.
“They were just like anyone else walking around in Paris. They looked like tourists.
“I didn’t make the connection until I picked up the Daily Telegraph the next day.
“I had to say something. As soon as I told my husband he phoned the police.”
Staff at Bishop Bell School are believed to have alerted police to their concerns and officers are thought to have taken one of Megan’s mobile phones away last week to search for evidence.
There have been reports that Mr Forrest was told by the school the day before he and Megan fled that he was due to be suspended. However, Bishop Bell have not commented on this.
Yesterday it also emerged that Megan had described herself as happy the day before her disappearance.
Writing on the social networking site ask.fm, she said she was ‘excited, because I know what is to come :-)’ And she revealed her motto was ‘YOLO’ – ‘you only live once’