Bridgend prison nurse jailed for six months for 'flirtatious' phone calls with inmate

Elyse Hibbs has also been banned from the nursing profession following the 'inappropriate relationship' Credit: Wales News Service

A prison nurse has been jailed for six months over "flirtatious" phone calls with an inmate.

Elyse Hibbs, from Newbridge in Gwent, has been put behind bars after she met the prisoner while giving him medical treatment at HM Prison Parc in Bridgend.

The court heard how the prisoner used his mother and a friend to track down the 25-year-old on Instagram, which led to the pair exchanging messages and phone calls over several weeks.

Prosecutor Matthew Cobbe explained prison workers suspected the inmate was involved in an inappropriate relationship with another worker in Bridgend and so he was transferred 205 miles away to Manchester.

But investigators then found Hibbs' phone number on his approved calls list for inmates.

Speaking at Cardiff Crown Court on Tuesday (October 18), Mr Cobbe said: "Having been moved, the inmate's calls were monitored in HMP Manchester and it was quite plain the relationship with this defendant had was being nurtured by the inmate.

"He contacted the defendant very many times and the bulk of it occurred when she was employed at HMP Parc."

Hibbs admitted to misconduct in a public office.

He also explained how Hibbs would phone the inmate's friend who would hold "two phones together so that they could talk to each other" in what was called a "three-way call".

He added: "The calls between them were flirtatious. They talk about the prison, staff within the prison, he tells her that he loves her and she tells him he doesn't know her to love her.

"She joked about going to Manchester in two weeks and that she will visit him.

"He pressed her about seeing her when he was out. He told her he wanted to thank her for how she had looked after him at Parc."

The court heard Hibbs, who was a qualified health professional employed by security firm G4S, believed the inmate was using a smuggled phone to contact her and feared she would lose her job.

Mr Cobbe said: "In a later call they talk about a time the inmate had an iPhone hidden in his bottom.

"He tells her that he loves her and she tells him that she loves him too.

"The calls included references to the defendant's existing partner and the inmate continuously suggested he would replace him and be in a relationship with her.

"She told him she didn't want him messaging her as she was anxious and that she didn't trust him."

The pair would contact one another on Instagram through an account held by the inmate's friend.

Prison nurse Elyse Hibbs arriving at Cardiff Crown Court today (18 October) Credit: PA

Hibbs was arrested a week after quitting her post at Bridgend prison in July 2021. She admitted exchanging messages with the prisoner.

She told police she was scared to end the contact after he had previously threatened her.

Mr Cobbe said: "She explained that she and the inmate were never in a sexual relationship of any kind at all.

"She accepted she should have reported the matter but that she got in too deep and couldn't get out."

Defending, Adam Sharp, said the prisoner was known within the system to be a "particularly manipulative individual", adding "she was young, impressionable, inexperienced and vulnerable to the malign influence of the inmate who sought to exploit her."

Mr Sharp said Hibbs had "dedicated a significant part of her adult life" to nursing, but her conviction meant she would be banned from the profession.

Recorder of Cardiff, Tracey Lloyd-Clarke, told Hibbs: "You knew what you were doing was wrong, you had training  but nevertheless you went ahead and formed what was clearly an emotional relationship with this prisoner.

"Although you were young you held a position of responsibility as a nurse and as a member of prison staff. You failed to report initial contact despite advice from a colleague and training you had had.

"You engaged in flirtatious relationship initially, you failed to report the on-going contact and you failed to report that this inmate had upon him and in custody an unlawful device."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...