Wales

Parc Prison officer jailed for six months for texting inmate

Stephen George Image copyright South Wales Police
Image caption Prison officer Stephen George exchanged messages with an inmate who had an illegal phone

A prison officer has been jailed for six months after sending messages to an inmate who had a phone smuggled in behind bars.

Stephen George, 37, from Llanelli, contacted the inmate when he was suspended from Parc Prison in Bridgend.

The former soldier sent numerous messages including a threat to track down a partner of another inmate who had accused him of assault.

George pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office at Cardiff Crown Court.

The court heard how George sent 79 text messages to inmate Muhammad Hoxha at the privately-run prison between October 2016 and February 2017.

George, who worked for private security firm G4S, talked about smuggling prohibited items into the prison, but no evidence showed he had ever done so.

Rachel Knight, prosecuting, said: "He was in a position of considerable trust.

"It was inevitable it would have an impact on the security of the prison."

Image caption George sent messages to inmate Muhammad Hoxha while he was suspended from Parc Prison

After he was arrested George denied supplying Hoxha with the prohibited phone and smuggling items into the prison.

He claimed he had supplied the inmate with his phone number and home address, where he lived with his partner and child, because he was "intimidated".

Heath Edwards, defending, said George realised he had "undermined the system" and was sorry for his "lapse in judgment".

Sentencing George to six months imprisonment, Recorder Eleri Rees said: "You've got 14 years of being in the army behind you.

"It's hard to see how you were so intimidated you handed over your number.

"It's quite clear Hoxha was in an inappropriate relationship with you. Where it might've ended we do not know."

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