Northern Ireland

Maghaberry prison officer arrested over alleged inmate affair

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Media captionThe officer has been suspended from duty while it is understood the prisoner has been moved to an isolation unit within the jail

A female officer at Maghaberry Prison has been arrested over an alleged sexual affair with a convicted loyalist killer.

The officer has also been suspended from duty while it is understood the prisoner has been moved to an isolation unit within the jail.

He and the officer had both been working in the prison kitchens.

The BBC has learned the police were called in after a covert intelligence operation by the prison authorities.

They had become concerned that the pair had formed an inappropriate relationship.

The officer was arrested and is facing a charge of gross misconduct in public office.

The prisoner involved is Robert Young from Portadown.

Image caption Authorities at Maghaberry Prison became concerned that the pair had formed an inappropriate relationship

He was jailed in 2005 for the murder of drug dealer Jim Johnston outside his home at Crawfordsburn in County Down.

Jailing Young for a minimum of 22 years, the judge at that time said he had shown "supreme indifference" to both the murder and his conviction.

He said Young, now 51, was guilty of a "cold-blooded, callous murder".

In a statement, the Department of Justice said: "NI Prison Service can confirm that a member of staff has been suspended following an internal investigation.

"This is now a matter for the PSNI and it would be inappropriate to comment further."