AN ISLE of Wight courtroom heard today how a prison officer formed a sexual relationship with a convicted murderer.
Today (Thursday), at the Isle of Wight Crown Court, Lauren McIntyre was jailed for three years after admitting several offences, which included failing to raise the alarm and allowing a colleague — who she had previously had a relationship with — to be beaten up.
The 32-year-old admitted providing prisoner Andrew Roberts with the personal phone number of prison officer Samuel Laidler — with whom she had previously had an affair — and failing to warn him or the prison authorities of an impending beating.
Roberts was convicted in 2003 of strangling his girlfriend and their eight-month-old daughter to death at their home in South Wales.
Prosecutor, Gary Venturi, told the court six prisoners had been allocated to McIntyre to spend 45 minutes with each every week. He said the meetings took place in interview rooms, and it was during these time slots she and Roberts had sexual contact.
Mr Venturi said it transpired that McIntyre had seen just the one prisoner — Roberts — and matters first came to light when a mobile phone wrapped in a cloth was found.
In a bin in Roberts’ cell, a letter was discovered setting out an explicit sexual fantasy.
Mr Venturi said Roberts was moved to the Albany site after assaulting Mr Laidler, who suffered a cut to his lip and ear from blows to the head.
Following Roberts’ departure, his cell was searched, and a photo of McIntyre taped to the page of an adult magazine was found.
Mr Venturi said Roberts provided the prison governor with a number for McIntyre which proved their sexual relationship.
McIntyre was later arrested. She provided police with her mobile phone and a search warrant was executed at her address.
Two documents — a note and some torn up paper — were found, setting out a number of dates.
In interview, McIntyre instructed police to further evidence, including an envelope with the words “sorry about last night” inscribed on it.
Another note listed the same dates as before, along with another explicit sexual fantasy.
Mr Venturi said McIntyre denied being in a relationship with Roberts, and asserted there had been no physical contact.
McIntyre claimed all her texts had been fake, and she had been playing along as a means to extract information from Roberts.
She said it had progressed to him giving her information on staff misconduct.
Mr Venturi said sexual contact was clear on the messages, with many written in the past tense, suggesting actual contact.
He read out a series of exchanges between the pair over text, which included a message from Roberts which read: “Today was really hot and risky but I am so needing it right now.”
McIntyre’s reply read: “So f****** risky — I like it though.”
Other messages from McIntyre read: “I’ve had hands on you so I guess it’s time you had hands on me” and “I still keep remembering the first time you kissed me”.
There was also mentions of her being pushed into lockers and being lifted, and Mr Venturi said texts suggested McIntyre was prepared to do things.
On the day of the assault, McIntyre messaged Roberts, telling him to “do what you got to do”.
Mr Venturi said it was clear Roberts was angry with Mr Laidler, and there had been a plan to plant a phone on another prisoner with his phone number on it, so as to frame him. McIntyre provided Roberts with the number for Mr Laidler.
Briony Molyneux, defending, said McIntyre’s actions had begun as an intelligence gathering operation before turning into something more.
She said numerous character references described McIntyre as a mature, articulate and grounded woman.
Ms Molyneux said the charges related to a very short period of time, and said McIntyre had been extremely naive in her actions, and in being drawn into Roberts’ criminal world.
She said Roberts was a highly manipulative, unpleasant and controlling individual who had instigated the union.
The court heard McIntyre had never brought contraband into the prison, had not caused an intrinsic breakdown of security, and at no time made any financial gain.
Regarding the assault on Mr Laidler, Ms Molyneux referenced an earlier conversation over text, in which McIntyre told Roberts “I can’t have anyone assaulted. You know that.”
Ms Molyneux told the court McIntyre’s attitude since was one of unwavering and total remorse.
She said McIntyre assisted police in their investigation and was fully co-operative, citing her previous good character, guilty pleas and motherhood of three young children, including baby twins, as mitigation for a suspended sentence.
Judge Roger Hetherington told McIntyre: “Even if you initially gained his confidence as a means of exploring other corruption in the prison, you quickly moved on to having a close relationship with him and in that relationship you passed on intelligence information and at the same time there developed a passionate sexual relationship.
“The effect of this sort of misconduct obviously is to undermine the safety and integrity of the prison service.
“It has a corrosive effect on everyone within the prison system and reduces the service in the estimation of the public, whose support is so much needed if the public is to have confidence in the criminal justice system.
“You had no regard for that, only for your own selfish interests.”