Ringmer teacher Jeremy Forrest found guilty

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Bishop Bell schoolteacher Jeremy Forrest has this afternoon been found guilty of child abduction.

The 30-year-old had denied abducting his 15-year-old pupil and taking her to France in September last year.

Jeremy Forrest who was today sentenced to five-and-a-half years in jail

Jeremy Forrest who was today sentenced to five-and-a-half years in jail

But after two hours deliberation, the jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict.

The schoolgirl involved in the case, who had told the jury she loved Forrest, was clearly upset and sobbed as the verdict was read out to the packed courtroom at Lewes Crown Court.

Forrest appeared emotionless in the dock and his mother and sister remained composed.

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

“I would also like to thank East Sussex County Council children’s services for their incredible support for my family during this difficult time.

“To my family and friends - thank you. You have given me overwhelming strength, courage, hope and love, especially during the dark days when the whereabouts of my daughter was unknown, and during this trial. No amount of words can express what you mean to me.

“My sincere thanks also go to the French police, the media and others who were committed to tracing my daughter to ensure her safe return.

“As a family for the last nine months, it has been like living out your worst nightmare. Every aspect of our lives has been affected to some degree.

“Finally I would like to mention my children and my fiancé. I am so proud of you all. Your lives have been turned upside down yet you have been dignified when knowing the truth, supported each other and shown continuous strength not to allow this to affect the rest of our lives. I love you dearly.”