Better Company

On the 20th September, Jeremy Forrest, 30, and Megan Stammers, 15, made the decision to leave their homes, families  and the country in order to escape for a life of love and happiness in France.

After being reported missing on the morning of Friday 21st September, Megan and her maths teacher Mr Forrest boarded a ferry to Calais at 9:20pm, in order to escape the unforgiving and misunderstanding society we live in. Unlike all other news articles and blogs focusing on this story, i aim to delve deeper into the unknown, and analyse both runaway’s lives before, and subsequently after they escaped to France.

Jeremy Forrest 

A talented musician, under the name of Jeremy Ayre, a happily married man for a year, and a maths teacher at Bishop Bell Church of England school in Eastbourne, East Sussex. Seems like an average, and somewhat normal life. The normality we’d all wish to achieve. But it was not that simple. Hiding under this normality, was a man longing to be with someone, or a man set on grooming a young girl, or a man in love. Jeremy faced problems, and as of 2 weeks ago, found only one solution: songs.

Forrest is an amatur musician, playing at local pubs and ‘open mic nights’ in East Sussex, who describes his music as “basically the outcasts of every music scene you can think of.” Nothing too strange there.

But then you begin to study his songs, and you listen to the lyrics. And alarm bells start to ring.

We’ll start with Starsigns, and original song composed and played by Jeremy Forrest/Ayre. The lyrics to the first verse are as follows:

She’s in my head
And I can see trouble
I did my best
But it couldn’t keep me
She’s dressed in red
She’s honest and she’s
I can’t wait to get up behind
Closed doors

To me, this song stands out, the lyrics shout something is not quite right. This song was clearly about Megan, the two had formed a bond, and he was intent on not losing it. And Megan was falling too.

Now onto another of his originals, titled ‘My Little Emo’

In hindsight, I miss you
It’s too late for a chase
The seasons will change me
I won’t go to waste

Again, another love song dedicated to Megan. You may be wondering, how do we know this is the case? And to answer that question, here’s how: Megan had a bucket list, published on an internet site. And on that bucket list, many normal teenage wishes. Below is just part of the list Megan wrote:

1. Write a book
2. Learn to drive
3. Get a tattoo
7. Have someone write a song about me
31. Live somewhere outside the UK
50. Fall in love

However, the two wishes, already crossed out, spark thoughts. Megan knew these songs were about her, and she had fallen. Fallen for a man twice her age, not knowing what would come of it.

And probably the most chilling of all his love songs  is one named ‘Better Company.’ You can decide why for yourself…

I love the way you talk,
about the music that you like,
and when we stop to talk,
we stay up half the night

The way you touch your hair,
the rolling of the eyes,
disapproving stare when I’m grumpy but you’re fine,
don’t mean to make you angry,
I try to make it right
I’m gonna make you smile, sometime.

Other lines go as follows: “at first, you stood out of the crowd. You’re everything  you’re all i see.” Again, clearly about Megan. And if it’s so clear, why did no one stop it?

Well people tried. It was revealed that, on a plane back from a school trip in early 2012, Megan and Mr Forrest were seen holding hands. Megan’s classmates reported this. We hear Forrest sing about this moment in his love song, ‘Better Company’ :

Sitting on the plane,
we were miles away,
from the things you hate.
But girl, i’d do it all again,
i’d hold your hand,
put up the friend
don’t think i won’t

Girl, I’ve changed my mind
this song is yours, so hold it tight
I know stupid of me,
but I’m trying to be better company

It’s been further reported that Megan’s friends knew about this relationship, and told teachers, including the Headmaster at Bishop Bell. But nothing was done, and therefore the easy solution easy never found. And more problems unfolded.

Megan Stammers

And now onto Megan, the 15 year old school girl who fell in love with her older, and to her cooler, maths teacher, Jeremy Forrest.

This one’s hard. Being the same age as Megan, i know how easily the right teacher can leave a big impression on your life. I’m mad about one of my teachers. It’s something that is likely to happen, and when it does, you fall hard. Crazy hard.

It has recently come to light, however, that Megan and her maths teacher communicated frequently over the social networking site, Twitter. 7 months ago, when she was just 14, she tweeted “probably just infatuated.” This comment was addressed days later when she added: “Age is overrated.” 

But what was then discovered, is the tweets Megan and Jeremy used to send to each other. When tweeting wishes of running away together to Forrest, he replied “Me & you. 🙂 Let’s just run away.” On the 1st July, these same feelings were expressed over Twitter:

“I just want to get on a train / in a car and go somewhere with you.”

That day, Mr Forrest tweeted: “I want to go everywhere with you baby, & for the record you never look anything less than absolutely beautiful …”

Their relationship was clearly evident and public for all to see, so why, when teachers were told, did nothing happen?

Maybe Megan was sincerely in love, and i do not doubt that fact, and despite allegations that Mr Forrest was grooming Megan, i believe he did love her too. Love, as mentioned in a previous post, is a powerful force. You do not choose who you fall in love with. It just happens. Unfortunately for these two, it happened to the wrong people, of the wrong ages, in the wrong circumstances.

Defining Right From Wrong

It’s been said that, if Jeremy really did love Megan, he would have waited until she was 16, and not try to escape everyone who would say their relationship was wrong. As well as this, he would have got a divorce. Although he may have loved Megan, he went about showing this to the world in the wrong way.

Love has no bounds, although the law would suggest otherwise. This, therefore, brings me back to the reason i started this whole blog. How can we define right from wrong? Megan and Jeremy may have thought they’d found the solution to their problems. But this solution, of eloping to France, brought nothing but distress to both families, and ended up with Mr Forrest being arrested and charged for child abduction.

So that should force me to say it was the wrong decision. But maybe they thought it was right. Love blinds, it conquers the mind and makes you do things which seem wrong to others, but right to you.

I neither condemn nor approve of what happened here, and i’ll leave that decision down to you. Overall, this story comes down to the choices, right or wrong, made by all parties involved. If Megan Stammers and Jeremy Forrest thought they had found the solution, they were wrong.


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