A youth justice worker engaged in a sexual relationship with a teenager she was overseeing while he was going through proceedings for, "very serious offending", a court was told.

Jade Newbould today (Tuesday, March 5) received a 12-month prison sentence at Newcastle Crown Court for what a judge described as the highly "inappropriate and unprofessional" conduct, in breach of the trust placed in those performing her role.

The now 29-year-old woman, of previous good character, admitted five counts of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust, at a plea hearing in December.

She returned to the court for sentencing hearing today, following preparation of a background report by the Probation Service, and backed by character testimonials presented for the hearing.

The Northern Echo: Youth justice worker Jade Newbould jailed for a year for sexual relationship with a teenage

Emma Dowling, prosecuting, said at the time of her offending, Newbould was a youth justice worker employed by an outside agency and working, on a one-to-one basis, with young people charged with criminal offences.

Miss Dowling said the defendant embarked in a sexual relationship with a male teenager who was on bail ahead of trial at the crown court for, “very serious offending”.

Her offending took place during 25-hours-a-week activity with the child, permitted under the auspices of his bail conditions.

Despite her efforts to keep their relationship covert, the nature of it came to the attention of others who reported their suspicions to police, which led to Newbould’s arrest.

When the allegation was put to her, she made no reply other than to deny the inappropriate relationship.

She was bailed and further interviewed several months later, but still made no comment, and Miss Dowling said the youth involved declined to assist the police inquiry or make any complaint.

The Northern Echo:

But analysis of items recovered from her home and particularly of her phone messaging, plus chat logs to prison after the youth was sentenced, enabled the police to bring the charges.

Miss Dowling said although those working in the position of the defendant were told “in no uncertain terms” only to communicate with the youths they were dealing with on their work phone, the defendant used her own phone to exchange more than 17,000 messages with the teenager over a two-month period.

The prosecutor said among them, there were, “clearly numerous conversations of a sexual nature”.

She told the court: “It’s the prosecution’s case that she knew she could not initiate sexual relations with him”, but she said it appears the defendant, “encouraged him to make the advances to her.”

Miss Dowling said Newbould’s messaging progressed from being “flirtatious” to discussing sexual touching.

After they engaged in kissing the young person told her they should, “keep it between themselves.”

In response Newbould told him: “You don’t need to tell me that, I’m risking more than you.”

But she told him they were “a perfect match” and they discussed having oral sex, some of which was said to have taken place during visits to the cinema where she would take him after his court hearing finished for the day.

Miss Dowling said the defendant discussed with her young client that he could go to her house for sexual activity and mentioned contraception methods they should use.

She would pick him up and take him there, where the defendant referred to them, “being at it like rabbits.”

Newbould even told the youth she loved him and had his first name tattooed on her stomach.

Following one encounter she told him it was the best job she had ever had as she, “got to have sex with a young person.”

Miss Dowling said following the young offender's imprisonment after his conviction, Newbould would visit him in custody and transfer money to his prison account, even though her professional dealings with him should, by then, have effectively stopped.

She left her employment a month after the youth’s imprisonment, aware inquiries were by then taking place into her activities with him.

Miss Dowling added: “The prosecution submits there was a significant degree of planning and grooming behaviour, thousands of messages, flirting and gaining his trust, even before any sexual activity took place.”

Brian Hegarty, for Newbould, told the court: “Can I acknowledge from her how wrong her actions were and she clearly accepts that.

“She looks back on her actions with shame and embarrassment and she has distanced herself from this relationship and conceded what it was.

“She’s now in a position where she has lost a lot as a consequence of her offending.

“She’s lost a career she was in and lost her good name.”

Describing her as, “a useful and productive member of society”, Mr Hegarty said Newbould has had the prospect of custody hanging over her since she was first arrested and interviewed.

Mr Hegarty said the defendant suffered some upheaval in her life in her teenage years and was at an emotional low ebb at the time she first encountered the young person involved in these events.

“She was in a depressed state through her life experience and was vulnerable to the flattery of the young person involved.

“There was an abundance of messages, that’s abundantly clear, and it’s correct to say there should have been no personal contact between the young person using the private mobile phone of the defendant.”

Mr Hegarty said there was no evidence of her, “hatching a plan or engineering a situation where she could prey on the young person concerned.”

He said the young offender involved, “played an active role between the parties.”

Mr Hegarty said there was no evidence of that young person coming across as, “emotionally immature”.

But Mr Hegarty said since the offences were committed the defendant has, “moved on considerably” and has found herself in new line of work where she has progressed well and is highly thought of by those employing her.

Judge Tim Gittins told Newbould, of Orchard Way, Bedlington, that it was natural she should foster a working relationship with her young client.

But he said, “that should remain professional, distant and objective”, knowing, "the significant emotional and psychological pressure" the young person she was dealing with would have been feeling, approaching trial for a serious matter.

“It’s clear that relatively quickly you began to use your own mobile device rather than your work mobile.

“The large number of messages, more than 17,000, demonstrate the extent of that unprofessional and inappropriate contact, regularly highly sexual in content and it’s clear you engaged in planning sexual activity, which occurred.

“All the information demonstrates a determination to prolong and persist in the inappropriate relationship.

“A moment's rational thought in your professional life should have told you it was wholly inappropriate given the age of the victim, the disparity in ages and the nature of your professional contact with him.”

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Despite accepting the probation report opinion that she represents a low-risk of future similar offending, Judge Gittins said people with a responsibility for children and young people should realise only an immediate term of custody can be justified given the nature of the offending.

Imposing the 12-month prison sentence, he also made Newbould the subject of registration as a sex offender for ten years.

She will also be barred for life from working with young or vulnerable people.