Tayside and Central Scotland

Castle Huntly prison officer Christine Robertson harboured missing inmate

Christine Robertson
Image caption Christine Robertson was found with James Holland at her flat in Monifieth

A prison officer who was discovered naked in bed with a missing inmate has been convicted of harbouring him.

Christine Robertson was found with James Holland at her flat in Monifieth, Angus, the day after he absconded from Castle Huntly prison.

The 45-year-old denied aiding and abetting Holland and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

But a jury at Dundee Sheriff Court find her guilty by majority of the charges. Sentence was deferred.

The six-day trial heard how Holland walked out of the jail, near Dundee, at about 20:00 on 16 March last year.

Police found intelligence suggested Holland was at Robertson's home and at 06:25 the following morning a team of 10 riot and firearms officers burst into her flat.

Letter stash

They found the pair naked together in Robertson's bed - the prison officer under the covers and Holland crouching on the bed holding a kitchen knife.

Holland, who has previous convictions for hostage taking, assault and robbery, waved the knife at the officers, forcing them to shoot him with a Taser stun gun.

Police investigating the case found a stash of letters sent by Holland to Robertson in a bedside table in her flat, as well as messages on her phone.

One of the messages said: "One thing I so love about you is your eyes. You've got the nicest eyes I've ever seen. Don't get cheeky now or I'll have to take you hostage and spank your peachy wee bum."

A card found in the room read: "Your honey monster is madly in love with you," continuing: "This time next year we will be together aww bless xxx."

When interviewed by police Robertson refused to answer questions, saying only: "No comment."

'Serious offence'

Robertson claimed Holland had coerced her, but the jury rejected the story given in her defence by the pair.

Defence advocate Jonathan Crowe said he wanted to reserve his plea in mitigation until the sentencing date.

He added: "I would ask for her to be released on bail ahead of sentencing for background reports to be prepared in the home environment."

Mr Crowe added that Robertson had now been fired from her job.

But Sheriff Tom Hughes told her: "In respect of this matter you have been convicted of a serious offence.

"I will require a background report. In the mean time you will be remanded in custody."

Robertson will be sentenced next month.

A spokesman for the Scottish Prison Service said: "The public expect the highest standards from prison officers.

"Unfortunately, occasionally individuals fail to meet those standards and it is appropriate that they receive punishment accordingly."

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