Probation officer jailed over affair with high-risk violent criminal
Married probation officer, 30, is jailed for 10 months over affair with high-risk violent criminal after they swapped 6,000 texts and she sent him naked photo
- Victoria Sellar, 30, was jailed for 10 months at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court
- The probation officer had a four-month relationship with a high-risk offender
- The couple shared more than 6,000 texts with each other, the court heard
A married probation officer has been jailed for 10 months after she had a four-month relationship with a high-risk violent offender.
Victoria Sellar, who qualified as a probation officer in 2018, abused her position by forming a sexual relationship with a man after his release from Harplands Hospital in Staffordshire.
The couple sent more than 6,000 texts to each other and Sellar sent him a naked photograph of herself during their four-month affair, the court heard.
They had spent a weekend away in Blackpool together, where he became involved in violence.
But Sellar, from Stapleford in Nottinghamshire, failed to report the incident as a breach of his licence conditions.
Probation officer Victoria Sellar, 30, (above) was jailed for 10 months at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court after she had a four-month relationship with a high-risk violent offender
The 30-year-old also accessed the probation service’s computer system to find details of another offender who had allegedly assaulted her boyfriend.
Sellar, who joined the probation service aged 18, has been jailed for 10 months at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.
Sellar achieved two degrees and worked her way up the career ladder to land her dream job as a probation officer in early 2018, prosecutor Daniel Osborne said.
But between February 5 and June 20 in 2018, Sellar engaged in an ‘inappropriate and sexual relationship’ with a vulnerable offender that she had managed.
The relationship was discovered when the man was arrested on suspicion of an aggravated burglary in July 2018 and his phone was seized.
Mr Osborne said: ‘The man was vulnerable. She played a big part in getting him assessed and sectioned. They met up and had sex for the first time immediately after his discharge from the Harplands Hospital.
‘She had managed someone who had previously assaulted him and she took a screenshot of his profile and sent it to him. She and the man went to Blackpool together. He got drunk and got in a fight. No caution was made against him. But at the time he was under probation due to his previous history of violence.’
Mr Osborne added that the man was living with a girl with a young child and ‘is a high-risk offender’.
Sellar, who qualified as a probation officer in 2018, abused her position by forming a sexual relationship with a man after his release from the Harplands Hospital (above) in Staffordshire
Mr Osborne said that Sellar told the man to ‘make sure probation did not find out’ about his violence in Blackpool, encouraging ‘him to lie and mislead’ his probation supervisor as well as ‘failing to act and neglecting her duties’.
Sellar, who was married at the time, admitted to having a relationship with the man and having sex with him on around three separate occasions.
The defendant admitted to sending him a naked photograph of herself during their relationship.
Sellar had also accessed systems relating to the man on 18 occasions, the court heard.
She made full admissions after she was arrested on October 26, 2018, pleading guilty to misconduct in a public office between February 5 and June 20, 2018.
Darron Whitehead, mitigating, read out a letter that Sellar wrote to the court.
It stated: ‘I come here today to face the consequences of my actions, actions that were selfish, reckless and unprofessional. I have lost a career I worked so hard for and have no chance of ever rebuilding.
‘Aside from this, the consequence I find the hardest to cope with is the embarrassment I have brought upon my family. They are so deeply ashamed by my behaviour. I can only hope they can begin to forgive me. I deeply regret my behaviour.’
Mr Whitehead said that Sellar’s husband had a gambling addiction and the household debt was close to £50,000.
Sellar was arrested on October 26, 2018, and made full admissions, pleading guilty to misconduct in a public office between February 5, 2018, and June 20, 2018
He added: ‘She could not get him to look in the mirror at what was going on and how it was impacting on her. Sadly she failed to look in the mirror herself because she would have realised her decision making was being affected also.
‘She offers none of this as an excuse for what she has done but her personal life trespassed into her professional life. She crossed the professional line.’
Sellar, who is now divorced, lost her job with the probation service but has gained employment with a housing association.
Mr Whitehead conceded that Sellar would receive a custodial sentence but urged the judge to suspend the term.
But Judge Fletcher felt that the appropriate punishment could only be met by sending her to jail.
He said: ‘A deterrent message has to be sent out.
‘The public have to have absolute and complete confidence in a system which deals in part with people who have been involved in the criminal justice system.’
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