Stoke & Staffordshire

Smuggler prison officer fell for killer at Staffordshire jail

Gemma Farr Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Gemma Farr was also romantically linked to an unnamed convicted killer at the jail

A prison officer, who was having an affair with a convicted killer inmate, smuggled steroids and mobile phones into a jail in her underwear.

Gemma Farr had worked at HMP Dovedale in Staffordshire for eight years before bringing in the contraband from June to September 2017, a court heard.

She gave the goods to another inmate to sell on, with his girlfriend taking payments from the prisoners' relatives.

Farr was jailed for 32 months, with a charge of misconduct to lay on file.

The 37-year-old, from Cleveland Avenue, Draycott, Derbyshire, admitted conspiring to supply steroids and phones into a prison at Birmingham Crown Court, where she was sentenced on Tuesday.

The misconduct charge relates to the inappropriate relationship with the killer, who was not being identified, West Midlands Police said.

'Met in car parks'

Prison bosses alerted police in September 2017 after becoming suspicious of Farr, who worked in prisoner rehab, regularly leaving the prison grounds.

Officers from the Regional Prison Investigation Team discovered she was collecting contraband from Peter Cochrane, from Greater Manchester, when they met in pub car parks near to the jail.

Analysis of Farr's mobile phone revealed more than 1,500 calls, texts and WhatsApp messages to a number suspected of being to a "pool phone" used secretively by prisoners, police said.

The affair with the inmate, who is serving a life sentence, was also discovered from checking her phone, police added.

Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Ricky Walsh orchestrated the supply of drugs and phones in the jail, police said

Inmate Ricky Walsh, who is serving a minimum 10-year sentence for robbery and gun possession, was distributing the phones and steroids inside the jail while his partner, Louise Brierley, from Coppersmith Road, Ancoats, Manchester, took the payments.

Walsh, 34, admitted conspiring to convey prohibited items into prison and will be sentenced on 7 February.

Brierley, also 34, admitted a charge of acquiring, use and possession of criminal property. She was given 200 hours of community service.

Cochrane, 58, from Cross Lane, Salford, was jailed for eight months after pleading guilty to conspiring to convey prohibited items into prison.

Georgina Davies, from the Crown Prosecution Service said the year-long investigation was "complex".

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