Forrest’s dad: schoolgirl is like family to us

Teacher Jeremy Forrest arriving at Lewes Crown Court where he is accused of abducting a pupil. Forrest, 30, was arrested in Bordeaux, France, on September 28 last year following the issuing of a European Arrest Warrant.
Teacher Jeremy Forrest arriving at Lewes Crown Court where he is accused of abducting a pupil. Forrest, 30, was arrested in Bordeaux, France, on September 28 last year following the issuing of a European Arrest Warrant.
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The father of disgraced Eastbourne teacher, Jeremy Forrest, has revealed for the first time how the family have taken under their wing the teenage schoolgirl who their son ran off to France with exactly a year ago.

Jim Forrest, 60, told a national newspaper at the weekend how he and his wife Julie, 57, had formed a close bond with the former Bishop Bell pupil.

It was a year ago when married man Forrest was arrested in Bordeaux after fleeing to France with the then 15-year-old pupil which sparked a ten-day international hunt.

In August, Forrest was jailed for five-and-a-half years for abduction and five counts of sexual activity with a child.

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Mr Forrest revealed, “We treat her like part of the family. We care for her and support her as if she was one of her own.

“She will always be part of our family. We have taken her under our wing and given her our protection.”

Mr Forrest, who lives in Petts Wood, Kent, admitted that his son deserved his fate, but revealed he was not being treated in prison as a sex offender.

“Jeremy sees the criticism as sticks and stones. He still believes his feelings were and are true, and that hers were and are, too.

“He is spending his time in prison training to be a chef and hopes to do a degree in creative writing and philosophy.

“He plays his guitar a lot and just wants to get on with serving his sentence.”

Forrest is now serving his sentence at Ashfield Prison near Bristol where, according to Mr Forrest, the teenager, who is now at college after picking up 11 GCSEs from her exams last summer, is banned from visiting their son.

Mr Forrest explained that this enforced non-contact, when the girl has been banned from either visiting or writing to her lover, was eating away at them both.

He said, “She is still bombarding the prison governor with letters begging for a visit, as she was told by social services after the trial that she would be allowed a supervised visit before the end of August.

“Jeremy is going through the prison complaints procedure and is in contact with East Sussex County Council.”