Leicester

Gartree prison worker jailed for relationship with inmate

Gartree Prison Image copyright Google
Image caption Sian Doherty was working as an instructor at Gartree Prison in Leicestershire when she met Michael Dobson

A prison instructor who kissed and exchanged love letters with a convicted murderer has been jailed for misconduct in a public office.

Sian Doherty, 24, met Michael Dobson through her job at HMP Gartree, near Market Harborough, in September 2015.

Leicester Crown Court heard Dobson had sent her messages with "crude references", while she called him "darling" in phone calls and bought a new phone to avoid detection.

Doherty was given a six-month sentence.

The National Offender Management Service instructor was caught following "growing concerns" that Dobson was having a relationship with a member of staff.

Dobson, who is serving at least 16 years for murder, exchanged messages with Doherty - who was using the alias Holly Smith - including one which said: "You make me feel alive baby."

Prosecutor Caroline Lody said the inmate had told Doherty: "I'm serious about us", to which she replied: "You better bloody be."

In another message, Dobson told her: "I can't wait to get a visit from you so we can kiss for the two hours", followed by a "crude reference" which Miss Lody did not wish to read in open court.

'Being manipulated'

In mitigation, Michael Garvey told the court the "mischief happened because discipline had broken down in the prison system".

Doherty, who had worked at the category B prison for six months before the relationship with Dobson began, had "allowed herself to fail in her duty", he added.

During sentencing, Judge Nicholas Dean told her: "It does seem to me, on the face of it, there was reluctance (to get involved with Dobson) partly because of the risks if detected, partly because you knew that you were being manipulated yourself.

"This is public service of the most serious nature. The trust you held was very significant."

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