Woman arrested on suspicion of helping school teacher Jeremy Forrest coach his victim for trial

Jeremy Forrest has been sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison for abducting his pupil to France

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The Independent Online

A woman has been arrested as part of police investigations into the disgraced teacher who was jailed for abducting and having sex with a 15-year-old pupil.

The woman, from Hertfordshire, was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice in relation to the Jeremy Forrest case. She was later released on bail, Sussex police said.

Since 30-year-old Forrest was jailed for five-and-a-half years last week, the force has reportedly been investigating the possibility that he attempted to convince the schoolgirl to change her story in court.

The former Bishop Bell C of E School maths teacher was convicted of child abduction after travelling to France with a 15-year-old pupil and evading capture for a week. He also pleaded guilty to five charges of sexual activity with a child.

During his trial, Judge Michael Lawson QC questioned the evidence given in court by the girl, now 16, as it varied significantly from her original police interviews. "She had clearly received assistance in relation to what she should say," he said.

Speaking directly to Forrest, the judge added: “You have contested the abduction charge, raising a spurious defence so that she had to give evidence; evidence very different in content from her original account and designed to support it.”

At the end of the sentencing hearing, prosecutor Richard Barton QC told the judge there was evidence to suggest indirect communication between an unknown third party and those involved in the case.

Sussex Police said later that they were investigating whether he contacted the schoolgirl via a third party. The woman arrested in Hertfordshire has been bailed until 30 July.