Tayside and Central Scotland

Runaway inmate officer 'changed prison records'

Castle Huntly. Pic copyright Trish Steel and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence
Image caption Christine Robertson was a prison officer at Castle Huntly open jail

A prison officer found naked in bed with a runaway convict "appointed herself" as his personal officer, a court has heard.

Prosecutors said Christine Robertson "changed prison records" so she could be James Holland's officer at Castle Huntly prison.

The pair were found in Ms Robertson's flat in Monifieth, Angus, the day after Holland had gone missing from the jail.

Ms Robertson, 45, denies helping him to abscond.

The trial at Dundee Sheriff Court was told that Holland had been moved to Castle Huntly from Saughton in Edinburgh after being deemed "low risk" - despite his track record of violence.

Prison officer Graham Tait told the court he was later moved back to Saughton in October due to "behavioural issues".

'Self-appointed'

Despite that, Holland - described in court on Wednesday as "dangerous" - was again moved back to open conditions, first at Noranside in Angus and then again at Castle Huntly just weeks later.

Fiscal depute Douglas Wiseman asked Mr Tait: "Were you aware that Christine Robertson had changed the prison records to make herself James Holland's personal officer?

He replied: "I heard that after the fact."

Mr Wiseman asked: "She made herself personal officer?"

Mr Tait replied: "Yes."

Mr Wiseman asked: "She wasn't appointed to that post - she self-appointed herself to that post?"

Mr Tait said: "I believe that is the case."

Personal officers act as an "advocate" for prisoners - and accompany prisoners on escorted leave from jail.

On Wednesday, the trial heard how police received a tip-off that Holland was at Ms Robertson's flat. A squad of 10 officers broke down her door and found them in bed together in the early hours of 17 March 2011.

Holland then had to be blasted with a Taser stun gun to subdue him as he waved a knife at officers.

Ms Robertson denies aiding and abetting James Holland in absconding and attempting to defeat the ends of justice. She has lodged a special defence of coercion in the case.

The trial, before Sheriff Tom Hughes and a jury, continues.

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