A Forensic Psychology professor is being probed by Nottingham Trent University after reportedly dating a convicted murderer PhD student in the same department as her.
The investigation involves a possible breach of the code of conduct between the university staff and students.
This comes after claims by The Mirror that Professor of Forensic Psychology Belinda Winder, 54, is in a relationship with Simon Scott, 52, who started his PhD at NTU in 2015.
Scott, a former computer consultant, was jailed in 1999 for killing Alexandra Carlsson, a Swedish au pair, with a frying pan while high on cocaine.
In a statement for The Mirror, Deniz Ugur, deputy director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said: “This is alarming, and will have far-reaching impacts on how unsafe women – students, teachers and staff – might feel at the university.”
Belinda Winder is Research Director of the Centre of Crime, Offending, Prevention and Engagement (COPE), and part of the Sexual Offences, Crime and Misconduct Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University.
She also supervises PhD students and DPsych students.
Simon Scott was awarded a PhD scholarship funded by the University.
His PhD work focuses on rehabilitating life-sentence offenders in the community.
Scott even lists himself as a “researcher and lecturer” at NTU.
However, this has been denied by the University in a statement for The Mirror which reads: “Mr Scott is a full-time PhD student at NTU.
“He is not employed as a lecturer.
“In the last few months Mr Scott has supported other academics in a small number of online teaching sessions as part of his PhD training.
“The University is conducting an investigation into the nature of the relationship between Prof Winder and Mr Scott and is unable to comment further at this stage.”
The relationship between Prof Winder and Scott has reportedly started through her Safer Living Foundation, a charity that helps reintegrate long-serving sex offenders into society.
Dr Lynn Saunders, co-founder of the Safer Living Foundation, confirmed for The Mirror that Prof Winder has stepped down as a trustee of the charity that she co-founded in 2014.
An insider claimed for The Mirror: “Scott was in the open prison HMP North Sea Camp before he was released and that’s where he met Winder through her work with offenders.
“She has helped him with his PhD and getting a scholarship.”
The pair wrote academic papers together on the “untapped potential” of convicts who have served prison sentences of more than 15 years.
NTU’s code of conduct says: “Staff are prohibited from entering into an intimate or sexual relationship with a student for whom they have a direct or indirect professional or pastoral responsibility, or interact with as part of their role.”
The allegations have surfaced just three weeks prior to NTU students returning on campus for the start of the new academic year.
The University has confirmed that it is conducting an investigation into the nature of the relationship between Prof Winder and Mr Scott and is unable to comment further at this stage.
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