A prison nurse who abused her position to arrange 30-minute "medical examinations" with an inmate she was having a relationship with has avoided jail after admitting one count of misconduct in public office.
28-year-old Berenice Ivey started an affair with 21-year-old Reuben Smith while he was incarcerated in Aylesbury Young Offenders' Institute.
Amersham Crown Court heard how, after another inmate had harassed her, Smith forced him to send Ivey a written apology. That marked the beginning of a secret seven-month love affair.
Although not allowed to use a mobile phone behind bars, Smith managed to get hold of one and started chatting to Ivey on social media.
The Daily Mail reports how prosecutor Walton Hornsby told the court: "I have to say the tone of the letters is tender and loving.
"It was a serious relationship between them. They talk about getting married and having children."
Speaking for the defence, Mohammed Saqib told the court that the senior staff nurse who is now engaged and set to get married next year after getting back together with a former partner.
Handing Ivey a 15-month prison sentence suspended for two years, Recorder Nicholas Rhodes QC said: 'While you maintain there was no intimate sexual relationship and that is accepted, it is clear from the letters you had written that your relationship was proceeding that way and you had a strong sexual interest in each other.'
He also noted that in the three years it had taken the case to come to court, Ivey had completely re-trained and is now working for an insurance company.
"There are clear rules about fraternising with inmates and all forms of relationships are off-limits."
"You breached that trust by striking up a relationship with a prisoner seven years younger than you. You opened yourself up to blackmail and compromised the safety and security of all of those in the prison.
"However, this case has taken four years to come to court, imposing significant anxiety on you.
"You are now studying for a history degree. You have also obtained employment with an insurance company and you are in a stable relationship."
In addition to the 15-month suspended sentence, Ivey will have to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.
Mr Recorder Rhodes added: "It may be said that the sentence is too lenient but this is an exceptional case. You have come as close as anyone can to going straight to prison."
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