A prison officer who wrote secret love letters and sent hundreds of text messages to an inmate she fell for has been spared jail.
Aisha Francis, 19, was an operational support guard at Aylesbury Young Offenders’ Institution when she started an affair with prisoner Gino Sawyer.
An illegal mobile phone was removed from the 22-year-old’s cell, which later revealed the extent of his relationship with Francis.
Prosecutor Angus Robertson said love letters were then found in Francis’ home and in Sawyer’s cell, which the prison guard signed off in Spanish as ‘Senorita’.
Between November 10 last year and March 31 this year, the pair exchanged 472 text messages and 197 calls, some more than an hour long.
Francis, who was dismissed from her job in the prison as soon as her love affair came to light, was handed an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, after admitting misconduct in a public office.
Sentencing, Judge Catherine Tulk said: ‘It is clear within a relatively short period of time some form of infatuation had developed between the two of you.
He added: ‘Anything which undermines the intrinsic discipline which is needed to keep an institution like Aylesbury Young Offenders’ in order, is going to pose a danger to everybody in there.’
Francis started working at the prison in June last year during a gap year after school.
Defending, Nathan Alleyne-Brown told the court that Francis had got a job as an office administrator since her dismissal from the prison service.
‘She was immature and gullible to believe that her actions could be involved with a prisoner,’ he said.
‘She was clearly young for her age and clearly she accepts that she undertook the actions in a way she should not have, in a way of course contrary to the rules she had signed up to, by virtue of her employment.’
Speaking outside the court, Francis said: ‘I’m glad it’s all over. I want to draw a line under it and move on.’