Prison worker wrote affectionate letters to inmate and they kissed, court told

HMP Bure has been praised by inspectors for its coronavirus measures.

Emma Keall had inappropriate relationship with inmate in HMP Bure - Credit: Archant

A woman working at a Norfolk prison wrote affectionate letters to an inmate and the pair shared a kiss, a court was told

Emma Keall, 44, was contracted to work in waste management at Bure prison, which is mainly for sex offenders, when she struck up the relationship with the inmate, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Lori Tucker, prosecuting, said in February 2019, concerns were raised as rumours were circulating in the prison about the pair.

Keall admitted she had disclosed personal information to the prisoner, who was then moved from working with the defendant.

However, the prisoner was later seen acting suspiciously as if trying to meet with Keall and a search of his cell found letters from Keall as well as diary entries about their relationship.

Ms Tucker said the letters were affectionate and said: "It is quite clear so far as Keall is concerned she knew and understood that the relationship was inappropriate."

Ms Tucker said police were contacted and Keall admitted the relationship with the prisoner and said they had kissed on two occasions.

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In an impact statement, the deputy governor of the jail said that this type of behaviour undermined prison life.

Keall, of Sandy Lane, Southrepps, admitted misconduct in a judicial or public office.

Andrew Oliver, for Keall, said that the case had been hanging over her for a long time as there had been a two-year delay.

He said her role was not that of a prison officer but working in waste management: "She had never worked in a prison environment before." 

He said at the time she was emotionally vulnerable and now realises she was not suitable for working in a prison: "This is a case where nothing more than that emotional attachment happened and she was not placed in a position where she was threatened or coerced to do anything more."

Judge Katharine Moore jailed Keall for six months, suspended for 12 months, and made her do 200 hours unpaid work.

Judge Moore told her she had "misused and abused"  the power that she had.

She added that her behaviour undermined public confidence . 


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