A piece in today’s Times by Richard Ford, Home Correspondent:
A prison officer googled to find whether having sexual intercourse with an inmate was a crime as she conducted two relationships with prisoners.
Chelsea Scott, 39, had an affair with one inmate when he was out of prison on day release and wrote explicit letters to another when she moved to a different jail. Yesterday she was given a suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to two charges of misconduct in public office.
The relationships were carried out simultaneously over six months and Ms Scott, who changed her named from Kendall Love in 2014, is now living with one of the former prisoners.
Maidstone crown court in Kent was told that during the relationships she had googled “Is sleeping with a prisoner criminal?” Her phone also contained internet search terms such as “inappropriate relationships with an inmate”, “sexual relationships with an inmate” and “misconduct in public office”.
Scott, who has a son and now works as an NHS call handler, is said to have a personality disorder with traits of “highly risky behaviour”. She was sentenced to nine months, suspended for two years, for the offences committed between January and June last year.
Judge Martin Huseyin said that the relationships were “corrosive to prison society” but he was not sending her to prison immediately because of her mental health and that her teenage son was at “a critical stage” in his life.
Scott, of Ashford in Kent, was starting her training in Suffolk when she met Luke Davis, a prisoner at Hollesley Bay open prison who was doing a work placement at the training centre. They conducted the affair when he was on home leave. She sent him photos of herself in “various states of undress”.
The affair was not discovered until her relationship with another prisoner came to light. Scott transferred to Maidstone prison in April last year and became involved there with Stanislav Zampr. They were caught in a prohibited area and Zampr’s cell was searched.
Steven Mould, for the prosecution, said that sexually explicit letters that she had written to him in the name of Kendall Love and a photograph of her were found. Scott was arrested and told police she knew that relationships with prisoners were forbidden and that the handling of private letters and photographs was also forbidden.
She said that he had helped her while she was new to the wing and she had started to see him more as a colleague than a prisoner. She said that the letters were all fantasy and she had not had any sexual physical contact with him.
“She acknowledged she had breached her anti-corruption training and had had an inappropriate relationship,” Mr Mould said.
Phone records from her home and the prison system then revealed that she was still in contact with Davis. “He was then found in possession of sexually explicit letters and photographs of Scott in various states of undress,” Mr Mould said. “They referred to each other as ‘baby’, said that they loved each other and repeated discussions about their relationship, the times they met up for sex and their plans to live together on his release.”
The court was told, however, that Scott was now living with Zampr rather than Davis.
Max Reeves, in mitigation, said that there had been no “inappropriate conduct” when Zampr was behind bars.
Judge Huseyin said that such sexual relationships “completely undermine the authority of staff and provide, as it were, a back door to all sorts of other potential problems”.
Scott was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and undergo 25 days of a rehabilitation activity.
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