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Jeremy Forrest's Schoolgirl Victim Invited To Meet Him In Prison

17/03/2015 18:51 | Updated 20 May 2015

Teacher Jeremy Forrest Stands Trial On Child Abduction Charge

The mum of the schoolgirl who was abducted by maths teacher Jeremy Forrest says her daughter has been invited to meet him in prison as part of a 'restorative justice' initiative.

The mum made the revelation on BBC's Radio Five Live during an interview with Adrian Chiles.

Davina Williams, who has changed her name to protect her daughter's identity, told the broadcaster that social workers had made the approach as part of the scheme, which gives victims the chance to meet criminals.

Her daughter Gemma – again, not her real name - was groomed by 31-year-old married teacher Jeremy Forrest when she was 15.

Forrest was jailed for five-and-a-half years in June 2013 for child abduction and five charges of sexual activity with a child.

Mrs Williams said her daughter hadn't decided whether or not she should meet Forrest and that she was still coming to terms with what had happened to her.

She told Adrian: "There is a procedure in the legal system now called restorative justice.

"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. There is that opportunity if they want to.

"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."

Forrest, who is expected to be released from prison this summer, ran away to Bordeaux, France, with Gemma, who was a pupil at Bishop Bell C of E School in Eastbourne, East Sussex, in September 2012, fearing their sexual relationship was about to be exposed.

The teenager subsequently said she had 'instigated the relationship' and that she blamed herself for her 'true love' being in prison.

In an interview following Forrest's trial and conviction at Lewes Crown Court, she said that she intended to visit and write to her former teacher in prison, and hoped that they would marry and start a family together upon his release.

Mrs Williams told Adrian Chiles that her daughter was in control of whatever happens next.

She said: "As a parent, you protect as much as you can as children and you teach the best you possibly can to give them the best start in life.

"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.

"You can't force them, you can't make them, they have to do it their own time. While they go through that process they have to find a way to cope with it."

Mum-of-five Mrs Williams has also written a book, The Runaway Schoolgirl, in which she described how she feared her daughter might be dead after she vanished from the family home.

She said she blamed herself after failing to spot clues about the teenager's illicit relationship with the married teacher.