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Prison officer admits to having lesbian relationship with inmate

Crime WorldBy Sunday World
Prison officer admits to having lesbian relationship with inmate

A prison officer has admitted having a relationship with an inmate at the jail where she worked, the Crown Prosecution Service has said.

Melissa Priestley, 33, worked at HMP Low Newton, a women's prison in Durham where serial killer Rose West is locked up.

An investigation was launched following a tip off and it uncovered Priestley was having a relationship with a prisoner.

A search of the prisoner's cell led to the discovery of letters suggesting an inappropriate relationship with a staff member.

During the police investigation, messages found on Priestley's phone appeared to corroborate this.

She appeared before Durham Crown Court and admitted misconduct in public office. She will be sentenced next month.

John Dilworth, of the CPS North East, said: "For people to have confidence in the Criminal Justice System, they need to know that the law applies equally to all of those involved in the delivery of justice.

"The relationship between Melissa Priestley and the prisoner, over whom she had a professional duty of care, was wholly inappropriate.

"I would like to praise the swift actions of the prison authorities and police, once the initial reports of this relationship were received.

"Through their diligence vital evidence was preserved, assisting greatly in the Crown's preparation of a robust case against Melissa Priestley."

An official at Durham Crown Court said Priestley was bailed following the hearing.