The teenage schoolgirl abducted by maths teacher Jeremy Forrest has said she hopes to marry him when he is released from jail.
The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claimed in an interview with a newspaper that she had groomed her teacher and started the relationship that led to them fleeing to France.
The pair ran away to Bordeaux last September, when the girl was 15, fearing their sexual relationship was about to be exposed. Forrest, 30, was jailed for five and a half years last month for child abduction and five charges of sexual activity with a child.
Police said he had taken advantage of a younger girl. But the teenager said she blamed herself for her “true love” being in prison.
“I instigated the relationship in the first place and it was my suggestion to run away, “she said.
“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 intended to visit and write to him in prison, and that she hoped the two of them would be able to marry and start a family together upon his release.
The teenager said she accepted Forrest had “crossed a line” 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, a maths teacher at a school in Sussex, 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 him: “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.”