Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Disgraced barrister Peter Sefton faces new probe as another lover reports him to police over 'campaign of abusive texts'

Peter Sefton was convicted earlier this week of harassing former lover
Peter Sefton was convicted earlier this week of harassing former lover

A fresh police probe has been launched into claims by another ex-partner of a disgraced high-profile barrister that he also waged a campaign of abuse against her.

The woman, who was involved in a three-year relationship with Peter Sefton, told the Belfast Telegraph she, too, has made a complaint of harassment to police.

She said she first came into contact with Sefton when she sought legal advice on a drink-driving charge.

After the subsequent relationship petered out she claimed he bombarded her with abusive and sexual text messages.

So alarmed by the harassment, the woman – who asked not to be identified – said she is afraid to leave her home at night and is on the brink of losing her job in the health service.

The Belfast Telegraph attempted to contact Mr Sefton but was unable to do so yesterday.

His legal representatives were also unavailable for comment on the fresh claims.

Sefton – who previously defended double-killer Hazel Stewart – was convicted earlier this week of harassing another former lover with harrowing text messages.

The court was told Sefton was the subject of a non-molestation order in regard to a third woman, and had been issued with a police notice for his conduct with the woman whose complaint ultimately led to his conviction.

The 64-year-old was given a three-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay his victim £3,000 compensation.

The Belfast Telegraph can reveal that having learned of the conviction, the Co Down woman contacted police on Monday night to lodge a complaint about his behaviour towards her.

She said she did not go to police sooner as she did not want to bring attention on a relative who had just embarked on a career within the legal profession.

The 50-year-old, a divorcee mother, told this newspaper: "We had an on-off relationship.

"He then harassed me for a very long time. He wrote very sexual texts, nasty texts and aggressive. I wanted it to be known this is not the first time he has done this."

She said she was aware he was seeing other women at the time, and claimed he boasted he would "bring down" another woman who had taken a non-molestation order against him, claiming he could have her sacked.

The woman alleged that when she parted from Sefton he turned up at her home. "It's horrible for me to talk about," she said.

"I hate to do this, but if he's going to do this to others... I want it to stop."

A police spokesman yesterday said: "We do not comment on named individuals and no inference should be taken from this."

Mr Sefton remains suspended.

However, he is free to defend clients if he chooses, pending the outcome of the inquiry by the Bar Council.

Peter Sefton was convicted of harassment at Craigavon Magistrates Court on Monday. Sefton and the woman, who was half his age, met through their work at the courts. The social worker and barrister began a relationship in March 2012, but by May it began to peter out. It was then that spurned Sefton began to send her a series of "worrying texts", the court was told. He also told her to log onto his Instagram account, and when she did she found a picture of herself and another of his former partners with the caption "stunning lady, great f***". A 600-page file of the messages sent was presented to the judge.

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