Forrest facing collusion investigation

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Bishop Bell teacher Jeremy Forrest who was jailed for five-and-a-half years yesterday for child sex offences and abduction is now facing further investigation for claims of collusion.

The 30-year-old married man who ran away to France with his 15-year-old schoolgirl lover was convicted of child abduction on Thursday (June 20) before admitting five counts of sexual activity with a child at his sentencing hearing yesterday (June 21).

In court the girl said it had been her idea to runaway to France with the teacher. The court also heard she had fallen in love with Forrest.

In cross examination, her evidence backed-up Forrest’s defence that he took her to France to stop her killing herself. The girl told the court she felt ‘desperate’ after police had seized her mobile phone to investigate her relationship with Forrest.

In his closing speech, Judge Michael Lawson QC said the evidence given by the girl varied from her original police interviews.

The judge told Forrest, “You have contested the abduction charge, raising a spurious defence so that she had to give evidence.

“Evidence very different in content from her original account and designed to support it.”

Judge Lawson went on to say the girl had ‘clearly received assistance’ in what she should tell the court.

At the end of the sentencing hearing, prosecutor Richard Barton QC told the judge there was material to suggest indirect communication between an unknown third party.

A Sussex Police spokesperson confirmed the matter is being investigated.