The girl who Jeremy Forrest abducted and took to France last year has said she plans to marry him upon his release from prison, and that "if anything it was me who groomed him."
Forrest is currently serving five-and-a-half years for child abduction and five charges of sexual activity with a child.
But the 16-year-old, who can't be named for legal reasons, has given an interview with The Sun, saying: “I instigated the relationship in the first place and it was my suggestion to run away.
“But Jeremy is not a paedophile, if anything it was me who groomed him.
“There are people out there who will do a similar thing but who have sinister intentions.
“But this is completely different.”
She added that she intends to visit and write to him in prison, with hopes the pair will marry and start a family one day.
The pair ran away to Bordeaux last September, when she was 15, fearing their sexual relationship was about to be exposed.
Police said Forrest, 30, had taken advantage of a younger girl, and he was jailed earlier this month.
The teenager accepted that Forrest “crossed a line” and said from the outside “I would completely disagree with what happened”, but claimed the pair could not help how they felt.
During the eight-day trial at Lewes Crown Court the jury was told that Forrest groomed the schoolgirl into having sex with him before taking her to France as he attempted to avoid being caught.
Judge Michael Lawson QC told Forrest: “Your behaviour in this period has been motivated by self-interest and has hurt and damaged many people - her family, your family, staff and pupils at the school and respect for teachers everywhere.”