Petition calling for victim to see teacher

Jeremy Forrest
Jeremy Forrest

A petition has been set up arguing for the schoolgirl who was abducted by her teacher Jeremy Forrest to be able to see him.

The girl was 15 when she ran away to France with the Bishop Bell maths teacher last year. Forrest, 31, was arrested in Bordeaux on September 28 following the issuing of a European Arrest Warrant.

He was jailed for five-and-a-half years at Lewes Crown Court in April after being convicted of child abduction and admitting five counts of sexual activity with a child. His teenage victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is believed to have made numerous attempts to contact him at Lewes Prison before he was moved to Ashfield, near Bristol. All her attempts at contact have been rebuffed by prison authorities.

Now a petition has been set up on a website by Catherine Reifen calling on the girl, now 16, to be able to see him.

The petition, titled ‘Grant visiting rights to the schoolgirl in the Jeremy Forrest case’, has so far been backed by 50 people. Referring to the schoolgirl in the petition Ms Reifen writes, “She is legally entitled to make decisions about her relationships.

“She is entitled to enrol in the army. She would be entitled to become a parent – probably the single greatest responsibility a person can undertake. Yet a decision has been made to ban her from having any contact with Jeremy Forrest for the next two years. She will not be allowed to visit him in prison, nor to speak with him on the phone, nor even to write him a letter.”

A spokesperson for East Sussex County Council said, “It’s important to reiterate that Jeremy Forrest is a convicted sex offender and as such it’s entirely appropriate any contact between he and his victim is controlled and closely monitored. Jeremy Forrest’s victim is currently prevented from seeing him but it’s not accurate to say that she’s ‘banned from seeing him until she’s 18’. This is a decision taken in accordance with strict safeguarding procedures, which will be kept under review by the agencies responsible for ensuring her safety and wellbeing.”