THE wife of schoolteacher Jeremy Forrest, on trial for child abduction after he ran away to France with his 15-year-old pupil broke down in tears as she gave evidence.
Emily Forrest, 32, shared a home with Forrest a teacher at Bishop Bell Church of England School in Eastbourne, in Ringmer.
The couple began dating in 2007, they became engaged in 2009 during a flight to a holiday in Portugal and were married on April 8, 2011.
Mrs Forrest came face to face in the courtroom today (Tuesday, June 18) with her husband who she had not seen since the morning of September 20 – almost nine months ago.
She appeared shaky in court as she gave evidence and broke down when she was describing the last meal she shared with her husband at Prezzo in Lewes.
Judge Michael Lawson called for a break and Mrs Forrest fled sobbing from the courtroom. When she returned she gave evidence from behind a screen.
She said the day before he disappeared with his student, she had called him to suggest going out to dinner.
She said: “We went in to Lewes at his suggestion and went to Prezzo, just the two of us. He seemed a bit odd, quite quiet. I was just chatting away about work. He seemed quiet. He said he was not happy at work and that he wanted to leave teaching and that he wanted to set up a music cafe – something he had mentioned before. He just seemed down and said ‘there’s a lot going on in my life’ but he said he could not tell me about it and told me not to push it.”
Mrs Forrest said the couple left shortly afterwards and went home where her husband tucked her into bed and told her he loved her.
She said: “The next day I was in quite a good mood because Jeremy had told me that he loved me so I was like pestering him in the morning by being silly, basically I was just singing but he looked kind of angry.”
She said Forrest had reassured her later in the day saying she was not annoying him and that was just his “morning face”.
Later in the day (the day he drove to Calais and boarded a ferry to France), he sent a message saying he was spending that night with his parents as he had a course in Blackfriars the next day and also asking his wife if she minded if he went to see a friend in Northampton for the weekend afterwards.
Mrs Forrest said she was annoyed as the couple were supposed to be spending the evening having dinner with her family to wish her brother farewell as he was going to university.
She said the last text her husband sent her said: “Don’t worry, I will call you tomorrow, love you.”
Then Mrs Forrest told the court she had a visit from the police.
The court heard that the marriage became quite strained early on and was unhappy on both sides.
When it was suggested to Mrs Forrest by Ronald Jaffa, defending Forrest, that she didn’t feel very good about herself, she said: “Well no, not really because my husband stopped wanting to have sex with me, so of course I’m not going to feel too good about myself.”
The court also heard that on a night out during a gig in Tunbridge Wells, Forrest had told his wife she “looked young” and about 21.
The couple stayed in a hotel on Friday, September 14, less than a week before Forrest fled to France.
Mrs Forrest said: “He said that I looked young, about 21, suggesting it was a good thing.”
Later that night, Mrs Forrest said she noticed a call from someone but that her husband had dismissed it as a call from a company.
Mrs Forrest also told the court that she had noticed her husband had been using social media site Twitter to correspond with his students – one girl in particular kept cropping up.
She said: “I was annoyed about it, I think I texted him and said ‘can you stop tweeting her please because I do not think it’s appropriate because teachers should not be tweeting kids from their school, they should not even be friends with them.”
The trial continues.