Eastbourne schoolgirl is ‘offered chance to meet’ Forrest in jail

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. SUS-140213-151231001
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. SUS-140213-151231001

The mother of a schoolgirl who was groomed and abducted by her maths teacher has said the teenager has been given the chance to come face-to-face with him once again.

Jeremy Forrest was jailed for five-and-a-half years in June 2013 after fleeing to France with the 15-year-old pupil the previous year amid fears their sexual relationship was about to be exposed.

Now though, just a few months before the 32-year-old is due to be released from prison, the schoolgirl’s mother has claimed he could meet with her daughter as part of the government restorative justice scheme, where victims are given the chance to see their perpetrators so they can explain the impact of their actions.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, her mother said, “Every victim does have the opportunity, in the right circumstances and the right situations, (to meet the perpetrators) if it’s of benefit to the victim and it will allow them to deal with their ordeal.

“She’s 17 now and she’ll be 18 in June. That will be her decision absolutely. If she ever decides to, that will be under no influence from anyone. That’s her choice.

“When they are adults, you have to allow them to lead their own life. You don’t have any control. I will always be here. I will always be her mum whatever happens.

“When a child has been groomed, it can take months, it can take years for them to accept that this has happened to them.”

Mrs Williams claims her daughter has not yet made up her mind as to whether to meet with Forrest.

All meetings under the restorative justice scheme take place in a supervised and controlled environment and are thought to help rehabilitate offenders by allowing them to see the personal impact their crime has had, and take responsibility.