Tearful father begs his son to bring teenage pupil Megan Stammers home

European arrest warrant is issued for maths teacher and 15-year-old as focus shifts to Spain

The missing maths teacher Jeremy Forrest was the subject of a Europe-wide manhunt last night after police formally issued a warrant for his arrest for the abduction of his teenage pupil Megan Stammers and his father begged him to "please, please" get in touch.

A visibly distraught Jim Forrest appeared before cameras to urge the pair to return home as police investigated reported sightings of the teacher and his 15-year-old student in several European countries following their disappearance a week ago. One line of investigation is that they have travelled across the border from France into Spain.

In a ratcheting up of the pressure on Mr Forrest, who may have been in a relationship with Megan for eight months before they boarded a Dover to Calais ferry last Thursday, Sussex Police revealed that the teacher is now wanted for suspected child abduction on a European Arrest Warrant.

Chief Inspector Jason Tingley, the officer leading the investigation, said: "This has probably not gone the way that Megan or Jeremy expected. Jeremy will be aware that he has questions to answer, and making contact with us is the best way he can do this.

"The full details of this warrant have been circulated to every EU country. When the pair are found in an EU country, Jeremy can be arrested and Megan will be taken into protection."

The issuing of the warrant came as Mr Forrest Snr, who earlier this week expressed concern about his "caring" son's mental condition and described him as "vulnerable", appealed for the 30-year-old to end the week of uncertainty and worry.

Speaking with his wife, Julie, beside him, Mr Forrest said: "There are a lot of people back home who are desperate to hear from you. All I am asking is for one of you to make a call, send an email, so we know you are both safe. We are all here for you both. Please, please get in contact."

Amid concern that differences in legislation between Britain and France, where the age of consent is 15, have minimised efforts on the other side of the Channel to locate Megan, police hinted at frustration but said all necessary resources had now been deployed. Mr Tingley said the French authorities, who had hitherto been treating Megan as a missing person, had had "a slightly different perspective" but added a senior Sussex detective was now working with French counterparts in Paris. He said: "We have their full support."

With French police hitherto reliant on members of the public recognising pictures of the pair and little information available on whether Mr Forrest has used bank cards or been caught on CCTV, British officers admitted it was possible that they have left France.

The authorities in Spain yesterday confirmed they had been contacted by the Serious Organised Crime Agency for their assistance in the search while Sussex Police said potential sightings "throughout Europe" were being investigated with the help of Interpol.

The last confirmed sighting of Megan and Mr Forrest was on board a ferry at 9.30pm last Thursday when CCTV cameras showed the pair holding hands.

Questions remain about the speed of response by police in Britain after it was confirmed that concerns about the relationship between the teacher and his student were being investigated last week. Mr Tingley said: "That is part of the investigation I'm not willing to speak about."

The officer added that the European Arrest Warrant had not been sought before Monday because it was believed Mr Forrest might use the ferry ticket he booked to return on Sunday. Mr Tingley said it was clear that the pair's disappearance had been planned in advance, adding that Megan had joined her teacher willingly.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Fans take a selfie with Ed Miliband in Kempston, near Bedford, on Tuesday
election 2015
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power