A prison officer became pregnant after a sex session with an international drug smuggler inside a top security jail, Worcester Crown Court heard yesterday.
Andrea Bennett and Pedro Rios made love inside a cupboard in the gymnasium.
During their four-month fling at Long Lartin prison near Evesham, she began receiving cash packages arranged by Rios, who was serving a 22-year sentence.
Police raided her parents home and found £14,330 under a divan bed. Another £5,000 was in a bank account.The mother-of-three explained to police the cash was to look after her during her pregnancy.
She admitted sending Rios top-up vouchers for a mobile phone he obtained inside the jail while a category A prisoner.
Bennett, aged 31, of Summerfield Lane, Summerfield, near Kidderminster, pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office.
Her sister Nicola Beaver, 27, of Elder Grove, Wombourne, Wolverhampton, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the offence.
The packages were sent to her home and picked up by Bennett.
Jailing Bennett for nine months, Judge Alistair McCreath told the weeping blonde: “Your relationship with a prisoner was improper and inappropriate. You permitted him to have access to the outside world and took control of significant sums of money from him. All that is a serious dereliction of your public duty.”
The judge gave mother-of-one Beaver a three-month jail term, suspended for 12 months.
He said she had played a secondary role and did not have full knowledge of everything that lay behind the posted packages.
Prosecutor Gareth Walters said Bennett had been a prison officer for nine years when she met Rios, who had been sentenced at Guildford Crown Court for drug trafficking on a massive scale.
He was transferred to Long Lartin in 2004 and the love affair began when he gave her a kiss on B-wing.
“Bennett arranged the gym duties and Rio had booked a gym session in May this year,” said Mr Walters.
“They had sex in a cupboard in the gym and she became pregnant. Then she began receiving packages through her sister’s address.
“She arranged for Rios to be supplied with phone top-ups and was arrested on the way to Coventry airport where she was flying to Spain.”
Mr Walters said Bennett was due to transfer the £5,000 bank money to Spain for the deposit on a rented property.
Police found bundles of £20 and £50 notes at her parents home in Hyperion Road, Stourton, near Stourbridge, hidden under a bed.
They also found four sim cards and four top-up vouchers totalling £80.
Bennett told police she became pregnant after only one sex session.
She phoned the numbers on top-up vouchers bought by her sister to Rios so they could keep in regular contact.
She collected four packages sent by special delivery and one contained flowers and chocolates.
Beaver told police another package had £1,000 cash inside it and added: “Andrea said she was in a mess and wanted to keep in contact with Rios in prison. I passed the voucher numbers on to her.”
Samantha Powis, for Bennett, said: “She was first arrested for alleged money laundering but it was her view that the money was coming from the inmate’s family to assist her in her pregnancy.
“The money was not frittered away and she did not take sim cards or a mobile phone into the prison.
“The most serious aspect is providing top-up credit so that they could speak. It was an incredibly stupid thing to do, giving him forbidden contact with the outside world. She understands it was an enormous breach of trust.
“At the time she was in a difficult position with her partner and while vulnerable allowed herself to be flattered and courted by this man.
“She has had no contact with him since her arrest. The baby was conceived and will be born in custody in February, one of the worst starts one can imagine.”
Miss Powis said Bennett had tried to explain to her children, aged five, three and two, that mummy would not be at home at Christmas.
“She told them she might have a job working away. It is heartbreaking. It is a bitter pill for her to deal with.
“After she had sex with Rios she didn’t return to work. The sex was once-only. The shock and horror of what she had done caused her not to set foot in the prison again.”
Was her sentence appropriate for the crime or should she face a harsher sentence?