Prison officer at HMP The Mount jailed after having inmate's baby

Corinne Redhead had been a serving prison officer at HMP The Mount.
Credit: PA
The judge said Redhead's actions had caused harm to the reputation of the prison service. Credit: PA

A female prison officer who had a sexual relationship with an inmate and went on to have his baby has been jailed for 25 months.

Corinne Redhead, 29, fell in love with convicted robber Robert O’Connor while he was serving a 10-year sentence at The Mount jail near Hemel Hempstead, her barrister said.

Redhead was caught after a tip off led her fellow officers to search his single cell. There they found a Samsung Galaxy mobile hidden in the U-bend of his toilet, Luton Crown Court was told earlier this month.

Prosecutor Charles Crinion said Redhead’s number was saved on the phone under the name: “My Baby". They had exchanged both voice and video calls and messages which showed they were having a sexual relationship, he said.

He said the relationship in the jail lasted from January 2018 until January 2019.

Redhead had worked in the Wellbeing Wing before transferring to the Fowler Wing, where she was made supervisor.When Redhead was arrested on 15 January 2019, two mobiles were recovered that were linked to O’Connor’s phone. There had been over 100 messages between them in just a three-day period.

Redhead had stopped SIM cards and used an encrypted platform to communicate. Shortly before her arrest, she had planned to buy a tiny Zanco phone for her lover, said Mr Crinion.

The prosecutor said that on 6 April 2019, after she had been arrested and O’Connor released, they were seen by a former prison colleague holding hands at the Broadwater Retail Park in Stevenage. Later she gave birth to a child and named O’Connor as the father.

Mr Crinion said O’Connor had since been recalled to prison and Redhead had visited him. He said O’Connor had also been sentenced to eight months in jail by a magistrates‘ court for having a phone in prison.

Redhead, of Burydale, Stevenage, who had worked at the Category C prison since 2015, appeared for sentence and pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office on Tuesday.

The prosecution accepted her not guilty plea to a charge of unlawfully transmitting an image.

Defending, Drea Becker said: “She is of previous good character and has made a very terrible mistake. Over a period of months she fell in love with a man called Robert O’Connor.

“She makes it clear there is no excuse. She expresses remorse and shame.”

Ms Becker said Redhead had lost the job she loved and her colleagues and friends. Most of her family had stopped talking to her, she said.

Judge Michael Simon told her: “You were utterly in breach of your professional duty. It is a matter of good fortune that the communication devices do not appear to have been used in furtherance of criminal activity.

“The culpability in my judgement is high. This was not a momentary lapse, but was carried out over an extended period of time.”

He said her action had caused harm to the reputation of the prison service.

The judge went on: “At the very outset as a conscientious prison officer you could and should have stepped back, reported Mr O’Connor and stepped back from the relationship.“

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