"she was completely infatuated with him.”
Prison officer Libby Shankland, aged 24, of Bridgend, Wales, received a suspended prison sentence after she struck up a romance with an inmate after becoming “infatuated” with him.
Cardiff Crown Court heard that she exchanged 14,000 phone calls and almost 5,000 text messages over four months with Adnan Ali, who used an illicit mobile phone while in prison.
Her illicit relationship came to light when concerns were raised about G4S staff at HMP Parc Prison in Bridgend in 2019.
David Pinnel, prosecuting, explained that Shankland worked on the B3 wing holding prisoners aged 18-25 where there had been “general unrest”.
She was interviewed by a senior officer when she became upset.
She admitted being in a relationship with Ali and provided “intelligence” on other inmates before allowing officers to take her phone.
Ali was serving five-and-a-half years for supplying Class A drugs.
However, before the phone could be passed to a colleague ahead of it being examined, it rang “four to five” times, displaying Ali’s name and love heart symbols as the caller ID.
Mr Pinnell said: “She immediately offered her resignation on December 2 and it was accepted.”
Analysis of the phone revealed 4,778 text messages between herself and a phone ID matching Ali’s, with more than 2,000 messages sent in each direction.
Mr Pinnell said: “The texts were of a flirtatious nature, and at one point referred to kisses having taken place between her and Mr Ali while she was at work.
“Further analysis showed a total of just over 8,000 connections to Mr Ali’s phone and just under 6,000 from Mr Ali in the other direction to hers.”
Texts confirmed that they considered themselves “boyfriend and girlfriend”. Their conversations turned to marriage and the possibility of children together.
Mr Pinnell added: “It’s clear from the texts she was completely infatuated with him.”
One phone call lasted for a total of seven hours, while the prison officer was off duty, with 48 calls lasting between one and two hours.
Shankland told police that she was aware that Ali had an illicit phone. She said it was he who started contacting her via Snapchat after getting her number.
She also said they would contact each other “all the time” when she was off duty, admitting she knew he was taking drugs when she was not there, and feeling “conflicted” after “falling in love” despite receiving training against corruption by prisoners.
Shankland pleaded guilty to misconduct in judicial or public office.
Andrew Davies, defending, said: “She was clearly struggling. And in the prosecution case, its first witness describes her as lacking confidence and being the weak link.
“She was vulnerable and she was taken advantage of.”
Judge Richard Twomlow told the prison officer:
“This was a serious breach of duty as mobile phones in prison, especially with someone in there for drug-dealing, is prohibited for very good reason indeed.
“Prison officers have to do a very difficult and challenging job. It seems to me you were really unsuited for that job.”
Shankland was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for 12 months. She was ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.
Deputy director of HMP Parc Ian Coles said:
“We expect the highest standards of conduct from our team and we will not tolerate behaviour that undermines the good work of our colleagues.
“Should we suspect wrongdoing, we will always share intelligence with the police and other agencies.
“I’d like to thank my team and South Wales Police for their exemplary work.”