York & North Yorkshire

Prison officer Rebecca King jailed for helping inmate lover

A senior prison officer who admitted helping her inmate lover has been jailed for three years.

Rebecca King, 33, from Selby, North Yorkshire, put credit on a mobile telephone belonging to partner David Turnbull to use while he was on remand for drugs offences.

He has since been jailed for almost nine years.

Passing sentence at Teesside Crown Court, Judge Simon Bourne-Arton said King had betrayed the public's trust.

The mother of two met Turnbull while working at HMP Wealstun, near Wetherby, West Yorkshire, in 2006 although the prosecution accepted their affair started after his release, in 2008.

The romance continued after he was arrested and held on remand in 2011 for his part in a large-scale cocaine, cannabis and heroin conspiracy.

King bought top-ups for the phone at local supermarkets then sent him the activation codes via text.

'Blinded by love'

The court heard there were 1,600 mobile phone contacts between the two while he was at Holme House Prison, Stockton, Teesside.

The judge said buying top-ups for the career criminal's phone was a serious aspect of the case.

"You are an intelligent woman. You are a hard-working individual," the judge said.

"You were a senior prison officer and you got there by working hard and doing well for yourself. You should have been well aware of the criminality and the dangers of what you were doing."

Christopher Knox, mitigating, said King's probation officer stated that the defendant became blinded by love.

"This woman became involved in the relationship and she should have disclosed it," he told the court.

King had admitted concealing criminal property, knowing or believing it was his benefit from criminal conduct, and three charges of misconduct in a public office, at a previous hearing.