Guard who had 'sexual activity' with prisoner allowed to go to Tenerife before sentencing

Kate Southern outside Liverpool Crown Court -Credit:Liverpool Echo
Kate Southern outside Liverpool Crown Court -Credit:Liverpool Echo

A prison officer has admitted misconduct following an alleged sexual encounter with a prisoner in his cell.

Kate Southern, a former guard at HMP Altcourse, stood before Liverpool Crown Court on Friday (May 17) facing charges of misconduct in a public office.

Charge sheets state the 25 year old, from Bishop Drive in Whiston, "engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a serving prisoner, including engaging in sexual activity, sending letters and cards and communicating by telephone" between December 22, 2021 and January 20, 2022.

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She is also said to have "set up a phone number rerouting service, enabling the prisoner to contact others not on his authorised prison telephone list", "accepted payments from the prisoner for a hotel stay, fuel and flowers" and "conveyed unauthorised items into the prison on the instruction of the prisoner" - which were smuggled into the jail inside a Kinder Surprise egg, the Liverpool Echo reports.

Appearing in the dock wearing glasses and a khaki green cardigan over a black dress and sporting long dark hair, Southern pleaded guilty to this single count.

Philip Tully, defending, told the court: "The offence dates back over two years. She has got no previous convictions and she has been on unconditional bail.

"She has been very frank to me and says she is in a new relationship. Her and her partner have a pre-booked holiday to Tenerife between the 11th and 18th of June, which has all been paid for in advance.

"She has attended when required for any interviews, when required at court and to speak to those who instruct me. I would ask for sentence to be adjourned to allow her that holiday, to allow us to take full instructions and to allow the Probation Service to complete a pre-sentence report."

Christopher Stables, prosecuting, meanwhile said: "My learned friend accepts that there was phone chat, but not physical activity. The crown's case is that there was physical activity."

He added that "physical acts" had been referred to in messages exchanged with the unnamed criminal, while CCTV footage was also said to have shown her entering his cell for a period of time. Southern is now due to be sentenced on June 21.

She was released on unconditional bail until this date. Judge Louise Brandon told her: "All options will be open to the sentencing judge, including a custodial sentence."