Wandsworth horse trainer who sexually assaulted teenager walks free

A horse trainer who sexually abused a vulnerable teenager has been released after an ‘extraordinary’ six-year delay in the case going to trial. Crystal Vella – who was 25 at the time – met the boy while she was working on a farm and they dated for seven months, during which they had sex and she sent him a masturbation video and photos in her underwear.

The 34-year-old pedophile, of Almeric Road, Wandsworth, lifted her loose gray jumper to expose her six-month pregnancy bump to the sentencing judge at Kingston Crown Court on Tuesday morning (May 28). The horse-loving sex abuser sobbed and wiped away tears as prosecutor Charles Evans outlined details of her illicit relationship with a child.

Vella’s social media profile shows photos of her working in horse stables and participating in dressage and show jumping competitions. On Facebook she lists Vauxhall City Farm in south London, Mudchute Farm on the Isle of Dogs and the London Equestrian Centre, a riding school in Barnet, north London, as previous places of work. MyLondon has chosen not to name the farm where she met the boy to protect his identity.

READ MORE: London pedophile teacher calls sickening child sex abuse ‘fun for everyone’ and refuses to apologize

The judge said the consequences of the sexual abuse for the boy would likely be “lifelong.”(Image: Callum Cuddeford/MyLondon)

The victim – who cannot be named for legal reasons – was described as ‘very vulnerable’. Their contact was discovered by his mother in August 2017 when she discovered ‘alarming’ messages on his iPhone, asking her to take screenshots and hand them over to the Metropolitan Police.

Mr Evans told the court: “In the messages they talk about ‘the relationship’ and the physical nature of it. It is clear that the suspect appreciated that he was only a teenager. It is also clear that the suspect had doubts about the relationship… The victim appears to have developed an obsession.”

After finding the messages, which included photos of tattooed Vella in her underwear and a video of her masturbating, the victim’s mother spoke to her son and he admitted they had been in contact. When asked about their sexual encounters, he said they had slept together three times. But on Tuesday, Evans said Vella’s plea, in which she claimed they had sex only once at her home, was accepted by the CPS.

The victim, according to Mr Evans, was reluctant to make a statement to police, but agreed to give a video-recorded interview in 2018. He outlined the history of the sexual abuse and revealed that he had shown Vella’s explicit video to someone close to him.

When Vella was first arrested, she told police, “We were just friends” and “I didn’t mean to go this far.” However, she later said: “I’m really glad you came because it’s just too much,” and admitted she had sent the sexual photos and was “more than just friends” with the victim, Mr Evans told the court.

Two videos of a woman masturbating were also found in the texts, but her face was missing and could not be identified. Other sexual photos of Vella were identified after police compared the woman’s tattoos in the photos to those on her body.

“She admitted that she shouldn’t have sent the ‘stupid’ photos to the victim, but she said she ‘cried a lot’ and that he made her ‘feel better,’” Evans said, quoting Vella’s own words to the police quoted.

In her plea, Vella claimed the victim had only been to her home once, that she was not in a position of trust and that she was never alone with the victim on the farm. This was all accepted by the prosecutor.

A colleague at Vauxhall City Farm said Vella was suspended from her job after bosses became aware of the abuse. The colleague also said Vella had called the allegations “nonsense” but said they believed the abuse had begun “out of loneliness and not predatory behaviour”, Mr Evans told the court.

‘One who holds affection’

Crystal Vella was spared prison with a two-year sentence and two years of probation(Image: Callum Cuddeford/MyLondon)

Vella, who has a 12-year-old son and one previous conviction for vehicle interference, waited more than six years to appear in court after the victim’s video interview was recorded in 2018. The prosecutor cited Covid and a detective. of the Met cited the restructuring of the rape and serious sexual offenses departments as some of the reasons for the long delay.

Vella pleaded guilty to three child sex offenses at a pre-trial hearing in January this year, admitting forcing the boy to engage in penetrative sexual activity, causing a child to watch sexual activity and have sexual communication with a child.

At Kingston Crown Court on Tuesday, Mr Evans argued there was a ‘significant difference in age’ but could not say the abuse related to grooming or planning. However, the court did hear evidence of the probation officer’s conclusion that Vella continues to pose “a high risk to young teenage boys.”

Defense lawyer Chloe Carvell argued for a suspended sentence, arguing there was a difference in age but it was not ‘significant’. In mitigation, she also highlighted her client’s role as a mother, the impending birth of her second child, the delay in bringing the case to court and her regular job as a barmaid.

“The probation service assessed that Ms Vella herself was somewhat vulnerable, due to low self-esteem and self-esteem,” Ms Carvell added, although she admitted this was ‘no justification’ for the sexual abuse.

Ms Carvell said Vella was ‘remorseful’ and had her victim ‘on her mind’. She also claimed that the ‘relationship’ arose at a time when her partner was ‘not treating her particularly well’ and she discovered that ‘her and the victim had similar interests’.

Ms Carvell also relied on the testimony of Vella’s colleague, who described her as a ‘vulnerable and troubled individual’ and ‘someone who would hold on to affection’. “The fact that she tried to end the relationship was, to some extent, evidence that she was doing the right thing,” Carvell recalled the colleague saying in her statement.

“It is very clear that the suspect had reservations about the relationship,” Ms Carvell argued. “The victim has been quite persistent in asking about these… It appears the victim seemed to develop an obsession with the suspect… (although) it was her responsibility to ignore the messages.”

Ms Carvell also pointed to character statements from Vella, although the hearing revealed she had not told her friends or family about the prosecution against her.

‘The impact will probably be lifelong’

Crystal Vella lifted her sweater and rubbed her baby bump in front of the judge(Image: Callum Cuddeford/MyLondon)

Judge Mark Milliken-Smith KC said it was accepted that there was one instance of sexual intercourse, but it involved ejaculation, which is an aggravating feature. He also highlighted that Vella failed to admit the full extent of her behavior during her first police interview, and that she had initially dismissed the sexual abuse as ‘stupid’.

Given the delays in the case, the judge added: “(The victim) was undoubtedly confused and thinking about what he perceived to be a strong relationship between you… For reasons that are completely unsatisfactory, the case is not for brought to court. for six years.”

Judge Milliken-Smith sided with the prosecution and concluded there was a significant age difference, but also said there was no evidence of planning or grooming. Although he accepted Vella’s vulnerability, he paid more attention to the vulnerability of the victim, whose additional needs were “common knowledge” to Vella.

Under normal circumstances, the judge would have sent Vella straight to prison. But in light of the ‘extraordinary’ delay of six years in bringing the case to trial, it, together with her obligations as a pregnant mother, was enough to reduce the sentence from a starting point of four years to two years. period that can be suspended.

For sexually abusing the ‘confused’ teenage boy, the impact of which the judge said would ‘last a lifetime’, Vella was spared prison with a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years. She was also deemed unfit for unpaid work due to her pregnancy, but will still have to complete 35 days of rehabilitation activities, addressing the causes of her offending.

She received concurrent sentences of nine months for inciting a child to watch sexual activity and six months for sexual communication with a child. The judge also imposed a 10-year sexual harm prevention order, restricting her access to children and she has been placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years.

After warning her of immediate imprisonment if she breaches the terms of her sentence, Judge Milliken-Smith added: ‘You can consider yourself lucky today. These were very serious offenses and I have already pointed out that the consequences for the young person involved are likely to be dire. If you don’t take advantage of the opportunities you’ve been given, for the reasons I explained, child or no child, do you understand?

Do you have a story or lawsuit that we should cover? Email [email protected] or WhatsApp 07580255582

Don’t miss the latest crime stories from across London. Sign up to MyLondon’s Court & Crime newsletter HERE