Ringmer teacher ‘grossly abused the trust placed in him’

Jeremy forrest drawings
Jeremy forrest drawings

The sister of the former Ringmer teacher jailed for abducting and having sex with a pupil has claimed his wife is divorcing him.

Carrie Hanspaul told ITV’s Daybreak programme Jeremy Forrest and his wife Emily had a “very difficult relationship”.

Forrest, who taught at Bishop Bell School in Eastbourne, was jailed for five and a half years on Friday.

During his trial, Judge Michael Lawson QC told Forrest he had ignored the cardinal rule of teaching.

Mrs Forrest, 32, told Lewes Crown Court the marriage had fallen apart in the months before her husband disappeared to France with the pupil on September 20. At one point she broke down in tears while giving evidence. The couple met in 2007 and married in April 2011 but she said their relationship started to deteriorate nine months later.

Ms Hanspaul said her brother still loved the girl, who was in court on the day of the verdict.

Asked if her family would go to the wedding if the couple married, Ms Hanspaul said if they ‘have managed to survive all of this, and he stays in there all that time’ the girl would be an adult and he would be 35.

“That then would become, if you like, a normal relationship, and we would support them. If that’s what they chose to do.”

Forrest, 30, from Petts Wood, south London, was convicted of child abduction and pleaded guilty to five charges of sexual activity with a child.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Ling said: “Jeremy Forrest has been jailed today after grossly abusing the trust placed in him. After months of sexual abuse he abducted a pupil, leaving her family distressed and not knowing what had happened to her. He was in a position of responsibility, authority and trust over children in his care, something parents and the wider community expect to be upheld at all costs.

“An investigation was started the moment concerns were reported to Sussex Police and did not stop until we knew the girl was safe. At no point was the investigation halted and we were still conducting enquiries when the two were first reported missing.

“This was a fast-time and dynamic operation which involved complex liaison with other authorities in this country and abroad. It was a complicated and long process to be able to charge Forrest with the sexual offences and I am pleased we have been able to do this today.

“The police and Crown Prosecution Service were determined that Forrest should be charged with these further offences. We are pleased that this case is now complete, without the additional pressure on witnesses to re-attend court.

“The whole ordeal has put enormous strain on the girl and her family. I hope they can now put this behind them.”

The mother of the girl said in a statement: “I would like to thank everyone at Sussex Police who was involved in the investigation, especially Detective Chief Inspector Ling and his team for their commitment and dedication. Their handling of delicate information has been commendable and I will always be grateful for the care they have shown.”