Janet Scott inquest: 'Probation officer did not recognise stalking'

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image copyrightFamily photos
image captionSimon Mellors killed Pearl Black in 1999 and Janet Scott in 2018

The probation officer responsible for managing a man who murdered two women has accepted he failed to recognise the killer's behaviour as stalking.

Simon Mellors started dating and killed Janet Scott after being released from prison, where he was serving a life sentence for killing another woman.

Mrs Scott's inquest heard Mellors turned up at her place of work several times after she ended the relationship.

His probation officer said he did not regard this as stalking at the time.

However, Andrew Victor said his opinion had now changed since receiving training about stalking, which was given to him and his colleagues as a result of Mrs Scott's death.

"Had I seen that [the training] beforehand I would have seen it [Mellors' behaviour] as stalking, rather than harassment," he told the inquest.

image captionSimon Mellors killed Janet Scott about a month after she ended their relationship

Mellors killed Mrs Scott on 29 January 2018 by driving his car into her in Nottingham city centre, after stabbing her at her home in Arnold. Mellors was charged with murder but killed himself in prison.

Mrs Scott had split up with Mellors about a month earlier.

Mr Victor said he was aware of Mellors turning up at the supermarket where she worked four times - once to buy something, and on other occasions waiting outside when she was either starting or finishing work.

Mrs Scott told him about this when she texted on 19 January, asking to speak to him "urgently".

However, Mr Victor said he had felt reassured after speaking to Mrs Scott on the phone.

"I said, 'Do you feel at risk?' and she said, 'No, but I feel uncomfortable'," Mr Victor told the inquest.

"I said, 'If it happens again phone me at any time over the weekend. If you feel personally at risk phone the police. I will speak to him'.

"My immediate response was to phone him and say I wanted to speak to him immediately, within minutes of putting the phone down on Janet.

"He felt she was giving him mixed messages and he was trying to save the relationship. I gave him an appointment for Monday 22nd [January] and told him not to contact her at all until he saw me."

image copyrightFamily photo
image captionThe Ministry of Justice apologised for the death of Janet Scott

Mr Victor, who has been a probation officer since 1990, said his options included contacting the police and informing them, initiating Mellors' recall to prison, and telling Mellors he was being given a formal warning for his behaviour.

He did not do any of these things.

Jonathan Straw, assistant coroner for Nottinghamshire, asked him: "What would you have done differently?"

He replied: "I should have made sure I had spoken to my manager and recorded that and I should have contacted the police at the very least."

The inquest continues.

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