Sitting 8ft behind Forrest in the public gallery as the jury filtered into court, Forrest turned to the teenager and mouthed “I love you”.
As the foreman of the jury announced the verdict, the girl put her head in her hands and burst out crying.
He remained stony-faced as the verdict was given, while the schoolgirl mouthed “I love you”.
Forrest then turned and said “I’m ok”, to which she replied “I’m so sorry”.
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- By Euan Stretch
Jeremy Forrest: Schoolgirl vows to stand by teacher found guilty of her abduction
The weeping youngster apologised to Forrest – labelled a “paedophile” by prosecutors – as he was led away in cuffs
It followed extraordinary scenes in the courtroom yesterday when the weeping youngster apologised to Forrest – labelled a “paedophile” by prosecutors – as he was led away in cuffs.
The 30-year-old, who sparked an international manhunt last year when he ran off with the 15-year-old to France, faces a maximum jail term of seven years at sentencing today.
However, the pupil told one of his relatives: “I love him. I will wait for him.”
Forrest was accused of preying on the vulnerable teenager before starting a sexual relationship with her to satisfy his own “carnal lust”.
Prosecutor Richard Barton claimed that Forrest “groomed” the teenager who he had taught at Bishop Bell Church of England school in Eastbourne, East Sussex, from the age of 11.
The court heard that Forrest told the girl he loved her last May, when she was still 14, and that they held hands on a school trip to Los Angeles.
He then instigated their first kiss in his classroom and later started to sleep with her.
During four months, the couple had sex in Forrest’s car, in the spare room of his marital home and in a budget hotel nearby.
As a witness in the eight-day trial at Lewes crown court, East Sussex, the girl has not been able to visit Forrest in jail.
A member of Forrest’s family said: “They have written letters to each other while he was in jail in which they talked about their feelings about each other. Nothing has changed.
“She has also written to us. She has told us that she still loves him and wants to be with him.
“She has told us that she is desperate to visit him in prison as soon as she can.”
The student, who is now 16, yesterday sat in the public gallery being comforted by a female police liaison officer.
Forrest turned around to look at the youngster, smiled at her and mouthed the words: “I love you.”
The dark-haired girl, dressed in a black and white striped sleeveless summer dress, then mouthed the words back.
But when the jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict, she broke down in tears.
Stoney-faced Forrest – who opted not to give evidence in his defence – sighed, leant back and looked at the teenager who was openly weeping and holding her hand in front of her tear-stained face.
He told her: “I’m okay.” She lifted her head and said: “I’m so sorry.” She apologised again as he was being lead away.
Outside court, DCI Mark Ling, who led the police investigation, said Forrest had “grossly abused” the trust placed in him.
He said: “As a teacher, he was in a position of responsibility, authority and trust of the children in his care, which included this 15-year-old vulnerable victim.
“His actions caused distress and anxiety amongst parents, family members and the school community.”
Forrest, of Ringmer, near Lewes, fled to France on September 20, 2012, the day after police quizzed the schoolgirl and seized her mobile phone amid rumours they were having an “inappropriate” relationship.
While on the run, the couple dyed their hair and gave themselves false names in an attempt to avoid being recognised and to find work.
Forrest also threw his mobile phone into the English Channel to try and prevent its signal revealing their whereabouts to police.
They vanished for eight days before being found in Bordeaux.
The teenager’s mother had told the court how, during that period, she thought her daughter was “dead”.
In a statement read outside the court on her behalf, the girl’s mother said: “The last nine months have been like living out your worst nightmare. Every aspect of our lives has been affected to some degree.”
Forrest’s barrister Ronald Jaffa claimed the teacher had been forced to accompany the schoolgirl abroad because he feared she would come to harm if she went on her own.
However, the jury rejected his defence and found he had removed a child under the age of 16 from the lawful custody of her mother.
Forrest’s relative said the family were expecting him to get a long prison sentence later today.
Speaking before the verdict and sentencing, he added: “Anything less than seven years will be a bonus.”
The family claimed Forrest had been trapped in a miserable marriage with his wife Emily, 32, who the court heard suffered from depression.
He added: “What Jeremy did last year by running away, was in effect, his way of committing suicide.
“I am sure that he had some sort of breakdown because of the problems with his marriage and this was his way out.”
Forrest’s parents Jim and Julie and sister Carrie Hanspaul attended every day of the trial until yesterday when Jim collapsed and was taken to hospital.
We can also reveal that in recent months the schoolgirl – who can’t be named for legal reasons – has fallen out with her mother over her continued interest in Forrest.
She moved in with her step-father in Eastbourne when her mother moved out of her housing association home into another property in May.
Yesterday the girl sat away from her mother, on the other side of the dock during court proceedings and they did not look at each other.
The teenager – described as intelligent by prosecutors – continued to sit her GCSE exams even during the trial.