Married probation officer who had sex with ‘high-risk’ criminal jailed

A married probation officer has been jailed after she embarked on a four-month sexual relationship with a "high-risk" criminal on her books.

Victoria Sellar, 30, abused her position after she began the affair with the man following his release from Harplands Hospital in Stoke-on-Trent.

The couple sent more than 6,000 texts to each other during the fling and even spent a weekend away in Blackpool, where the offender got into a fight.

But lovestruck Sellar failed to report the incident as a breach of the convict's license conditions.

She also accessed the probation service's computer system to find details of another offender who had allegedly assaulted her boyfriend.

Sellar has now been jailed for 10 months at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.

StokeonTrentLive reports she joined the probation service at the age of 18 before landing her dream job as a probation officer in early 2018.

But between February 5 and June 20 of that year, she engaged in an "inappropriate and sexual relationship" with the vulnerable offender she managed.

Their fling came to light when the man – who can't be named for legal reasons – was arrested on suspicion of aggravated burglary in July 2018 and his phone was seized.

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Prosecutor Daniel Osborne said: "Personal communications were found between the man and the defendant.

"More than 6,000 texts were sent between the two between February and June 2018.

"They showed a personal and sexual relationship between the two. A number of messages and pictures were indecent. They had an ongoing sexual relationship."

Osborne added: "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 Harplands Hospital."

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He went on: "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. He was living with a girl with a young child. He was and still is, a high-risk offender. She told him to make sure probation did not find out."

Sellar admitted sending a naked photograph of herself to the man, as well as researching another offender who had beaten him up.

She pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office between February 5, 2018, and June 20, 2018.

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A letter was read out on her behalf by Darron Whitehead, mitigating, which read: "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."

Whitehead said Sellar's husband had a gambling addiction and the household debt was close to £50,000.

He said: "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 a professional line."

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