LONDON (AFP) - A British teacher was on Friday sentenced to five years and six months in jail for abducting and having sex with a 15-year-old pupil, nine months after they fled to France and sparked an international manhunt.
Jeremy Forrest, a married 30-year-old maths teacher, was convicted of abduction by a jury on Thursday, and on Friday admitted five further counts of sexual activity with a child.
He was not originally charged with sex offences for legal reasons linked to his extradition from France.
When Forrest was convicted on Thursday after a two-week trial, he had told the girl "I love you" as he was led from the court.
The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, burst into tears as the verdict was announced and told him: "I'm sorry."
Prosecutors had labelled Forrest a paedophile who had groomed a vulnerable girl, who he first kissed when she was 14. They said he "grossly abused" the trust placed in him as her teacher.
The girl, now 16, said in evidence that she had encouraged the relationship and had gone willingly to France in September when they realised their affair was about to be exposed.
But she was under age at the time - the age of sexual consent in Britain is 16.
She had used a passport belonging to Forrest's wife to get the ferry to France, where the couple were finally caught one week later in Bordeaux after Forrest tried to find work in a bar.
Their secret escape from Britain caused an international manhunt, and her family said in a statement on Thursday that the past nine months had been "like living out your worst nightmare".