A 50-year-old woman has been jailed after she admitted to abusing her position as a nurse at a South Yorkshire prison to start a relationship with an inmate for whom she smuggled a mobile phone, a 'provocative' picture of herself and a pair of her knickers into jail for.
Elizabeth Hutton, of Kingsley Avenue, Wakefield, was sentenced to 20 months in prison during a hearing at Sheffield Crown Court today after admitting to misconduct in a public office and conveying a mobile phone into prison.
The court heard how the mum-of-two began treating inmate Medi Abalimba at HMP Moorland in November 2015, and saw him on a further 12 occasions between then and when her relationship with him was discovered in October last year.
Prosecuting, Katherine Goddard, explained that due to Hutton's 'trusted position' as a nurse she was allowed to enter the Doncaster prison without the 'normal searches' that members of the public are subject to; and she was also allowed to be alone with him during consultations.
Her relationship with Abalimba was discovered after staff at the prison became suspicious when she left a 'do not disturb sign on the door' during a consultation with him on October 26, 2016.
This led to Abalimba being searched by staff, and a black Samsung smartphone was found in his possession.
"The inmate spoke to a prison officer and said there had been some form of a relationship between him and the defendant," said Ms Goddard.
She added: "His cell was searched and a cardboard box was found containing two items. The first was a photo showing the defendant in a provocative pose.
"The second was a lacy red thong."
Ms Goddard said Hutton's DNA was found to be on the thong, following testing carried out by police.
Text messages sent between the pair were found on the phone used by Alalimba that Ms Goddard described as being of a 'highly sexual nature'.
No evidence of Alalimba using the phone for criminal activity, was found however.
Hutton later admitted to having a relationship with Alalimba, and to smuggling the phone into prison for him - but said the pair had never engaged in any sort of physical contact which was accepted by the prosecution.
Defending, Ian Howard, described Hutton as being a 'vulnerable woman' as a result of her divorce in 2005, which had led to her falling into debt and to her subsequently suffering from 'low self-esteem'.
He said that Abalimba, who was jailed for fraud in 2014 after posing as Premier League footballer Gael Kakuta, was a 'confidence trickster' who had exploited Hutton's vulnerabilities to his advantage.
Sentencing Hutton, Judge Julian Goose QC told her: "Your duty of employment was to provide professional medical assistance for prisoners in that prison.
"The public were entitled to expect that you would perform that duty and so to form a relationship with an inmate was a breach of that obligation and duty."