A prison nurse was jailed for six months after admitting to entering an "inappropriate relationship" with an inmate who she told that she "loved" him.
Elyse Hibbs was involved in sending a series of "flirtatious" texts and engaging in phone calls with an inmate at HMP Parc in Bridgend, South Wales.
Despite claiming that she was "exploited" by the man, Hibbs sobbed as she was jailed for six months at Cardiff Crown Court on Tuesday (October 18), Manchester Evening News reports.
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Hibbs had worked at the prison since September 2018 and met the inmate when she gave him medical treatment, before he instructing his mother and friend to track down the nurse on Instagram.
Once Hibbs gave her number to the inmate, they began calling each other.
Matthew Cobbe, prosecuting, said the inmate “nurtured” his relationship with Hibbs over the next few weeks of them conversing with each other.
He said: "They exchanged numerous text and calls, some of which were over the prison phone and recorded, the calls between the defendant and inmate were flirtatious. They talked about the prison and staff at the prison.
“He says he loves her and she replies she loves him too. He told her he wanted to thank her for how she had looked after him at Parc."
The court heard that Hibbs was “manipulated” by the inmate and got in “too deep”.
Mr Cobbe added: “The conversations do contain several references to the defendant asking the inmate not to contact her, nevertheless the contact does continue.
“They also reveal the inmate thought very little of the defendant, he was quite clearly manipulating her. It’s quite plain that their conversations were wholly inappropriate.”
On July 13 she was arrested after investigators found Hibbs’ phone number on his approved calls list for inmates and has since been struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Hibbs pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office and claimed that she was “exploited” and felt "threatened" by the inmate which is why she didn't break off contact with him.
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Defending Hibbs, Adam Sharp, said his client did not gain financially from the relationship and did not assist in organised crime.
Mr Sharp said: “The misconduct was not face-to-face, it wasn’t even within physical proximity to each other.”
Hibbs was 23-years-old at the time of the offence as Mr Sharp called her “young, impressionable and relatively inexperienced” as well as “emotionally vulnerable”.
“She has expressed remorse for her actions beyond the self-serving,” he added, as he called for a suspension of her sentence.
However, Judge Lloyd-Clarke said: “You knew what you were doing was wrong, you had done training but nevertheless you went on to form an emotional relationship with this inmate.
“You engaged in a flirtatious relationship initially, you failed to report the ongoing contact and you failed to report that this inmate had upon him and in custody an unlawful device.
"He was left with the potential ability to manipulate you while you were still working at a prison."
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