Dorset Officer Sacked Over Victim Affair

A police officer who had an affair with a domestic abuse victim whose case he had been assigned has been sacked.

Katarzyna Ryba, 26, was later stabbed to death in front of her three-year-old daughter and thrown out of a window by her jealous ex-boyfriend Piotr Zasada after she started a new relationship with Pc Richard Allan.

Polish bus driver Zasada, 33, was jailed for life at Winchester Crown Court in October last year after he admitted the murder of Ms Ryba.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said that an independent investigation found there was an ''inappropriate relationship'' between Ms Ryba and Dorset Police officer Allan, who has since been dismissed.

During the investigation the IPCC found Ms Ryba, who was Polish, had sought protection from the force after obsessed Zasada attacked her following the breakdown of their five-year relationship.

Ms Ryba, who was staying with her daughter in Bournemouth at a friend's home, had called the police before her death. Her most recent call was on September 27 - five days before she was killed on October 2 2009.

Ms Ryba, a waitress, took out a harassment order against her former partner as he continued to threaten and stalk her.

Pc Allan, who was assigned to her case, had initially resisted Ms Ryba's advances but eventually the couple began an affair. The IPCC said he deleted text messages from Ms Ryba after he found out she had died.

IPCC Commissioner Rebecca Marsh said:

''This was a tragic death of a young mother killed by a former partner who admitted to Ms Ryba's murder.

''During the course of the IPCC investigation it became clear that Pc Allan had formed an inappropriate relationship with a vulnerable victim of domestic abuse.

''It was also proven that Pc Allan had also deleted text messages he had exchanged with Ms Ryba once he discovered she had been murdered.

''While Pc Allan was removed from front-line duties during the IPCC investigation he also carried out unauthorised searches on the police computer. This led to a further investigation carried out by Dorset Police and supervised by the IPCC.

''In June 2011 Pc Allan faced a police misconduct panel and was dismissed from service. Ms Ryba's family have been kept informed.''

Zasada had heard about his former girlfriend's new relationship, plus others, but did not know her new partner was a police officer, the court heard.

He attacked Ms Ryba in front of their daughter, Michelle, with two kitchen knives. She suffered eight potentially fatal stab wounds and 18 slashes, including wounds to her arms.

She was discovered in a car park outside flats in Wellington Road.

The IPCC investigation found there were failings by Pc Allan in how he had handled Ms Ryba's allegations of domestic abuse as well as by other police officers.

But, it was felt that these failings did not directly impact on the eventual tragic outcome.

It also found the force domestic abuse policy was out of date and identified issues relating to two police constables and an acting sergeant in how they dealt with Ms Ryba's various complaints of domestic abuse.

Other issues identified in the handling of Ms Ryba's complaints included inconsistencies in reported risk levels with differences between handwritten assessments and computerised forms.

A spokeswoman for Dorset Police said:

''Following the tragic death of Katarzyna Ryba in October 2009, Dorset Police made a mandatory referral to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

''The IPCC investigation identified a number of issues with the way that several officers, including Police Constable Richard Allan, handled domestic abuse complaints made by Ms Ryba.

''It was also concluded that the identified issues did not directly impact on Ms Ryba's death.

''Dorset Police welcomes the Commission's findings and has made changes to further improve the way that the Force handles such reports - such as updating the relevant policy and providing words of advice to officers and staff.

''Following Ms Ryba's death, Pc Richard Allan was moved to non-operational duties and placed under close supervision. In June 2011 he was dismissed from the Force.

''It is essential that all Dorset Police employees adhere to the high standards of professional behaviour expected when dealing with victims of crime. In this case a misconduct panel found that Pc Allan's behaviour was not in keeping with these standards.''

During his sentencing last October Judge Guy Boney told Zasada, of Norwich Road, Bournemouth, he must serve a minimum of 14 years and 62 days of his life sentence before he would be considered for release.