Female guard is spared prison over affair with inmate at HMP Berwyn

ANOTHER female guard is found guilty of having affair with inmate at Britain’s ‘cushiest’ prison: ‘Infatuated’ officer, 34, is spared jail after becoming eighteenth guard to have illicit relations with criminal at HMP Berwyn

A married female guard at Britain’s biggest prison has been spared jail after engaging in ‘sexually explicit’ chats with an inmate – making her the eighteenth officer there to have had an illicit relationship with a criminal.

Roxanne Walker, 34, was spotted by colleagues giggling with ‘manipulative’ prisoner Daniel Walker at £250m HMP Berwyn in Wrexham, North Wales. She later confessed to police: ‘I’ve made a mistake. I’ve fallen in love with Daniel Carter; it’s completely wrong.’ 

Walker, whose marriage has now broken down, received a nine months prison sentence, suspended for two years, in addition to 200 hours of unpaid work. 

It is the latest scandal at HMP Berwyn after prison staff Jennifer Gavan, 27, Ayshea Gunn, 27, and Emily Watson, 26, were all jailed within the last three years for sparking relationships with prisoners. 

A total of 18 guards have been fired for having illicit affairs at the prison, which opened in 2017 and has been dubbed ‘Britain’s cushiest jail’ for its unconventional approach to incarceration, which includes referring to cells as ‘rooms’. 

Roxanne Walker, 34, was spotted by colleagues giggling with ‘manipulative’ criminal Daniel Walker at £250m HMP Berwyn in Wrexham, North Wales

Walker admitted misconduct in a public office and cannabis possession.

READ MORE – How 18 officers at HMP Berwyn have been fired for illicit affairs  

Prosecutor Ryan Rothwell told Mold Crown Court how Walker, from Upton in Merseyside, began work as a prison officer in 2021.

‘She undertook a ten week training course which included corruption prevention and conditioning,’ he said. 

‘But between May and October 2021, several of her colleagues became concerned about her behaviour towards an inmate named Daniel Carter.

‘On one occasion, she was seen on CCTV grasping and stroking his arm and ”giggling”, as well as talking closely with him.’

Mr Rothwell said colleagues saw her ‘sitting on a sofa with him, having an inappropriate discussion about a night out she’d been on.’

And she told one of her fellow guards that Carter was ‘her type’. 

In August, Walker was spoken to in a support meeting – and she said she was ‘disappointed’ that her colleagues had reported her. 

Previous scandals: Prison officer Ayshea Gunn was also caught having an affair. She is pictured with inmate Khuram Razaq in the cells of HMP Berwyn

Gunn in handcuffs on her way to prison after being jailed for the illicit affair 

She claimed it might ‘have looked dodgy’ to others but their relationship was ‘just platonic.’ 

The court heard the relationship continue despite other warnings and advice.

In September, Carter’s usage of the prison’s phone system was investigated, and it emerged he’d added a female called ‘Leanna Baker’ to his list.

He said: ‘This was in fact Walker and it turned out that there had been numerous calls between them over a period of weeks, in which they talked about going away together and engaged in sexually explicit conversation.’

Carter was moved to HMP Cardiff because of the investigation into the defendant – but 11 calls were made between the pair.

Officers arrested Walker and searched her home, finding ‘personal use’ cannabis.

Emily Watson, left, was jailed for one year after she performed a sex act on inmate John McGee

Ex prison officer Jennifer Gavan, left, was jailed for eight months after she smuggled a mobile phone into the prison for her lover Alex Coxon, right. She sent Coxon intimate messages and photographs over Snapchat

Andrew McInnes, defending, said: ‘She knows how serious these matters are – and how an inappropriate relationship can undermine security.

‘She has undoubtedly put herself in danger.’

He explained Walker had recently been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and had been assessed as ‘kind-hearted and caring but naive’.

Mr McInnes continued: ‘In her words, she’d fallen in love with Daniel Carter; a prisoner who has, it seems, a history of conditioning behaviour towards staff members.

‘She realised she’d been manipulated. He told her what she wanted to hear. Her marriage was in difficulties and this was perhaps a vulnerable time in her life.

‘She was a target and was indeed conditioned. The relationship, whilst serious, didn’t progress physically.’

 A total of 18 female guards at HMP Berwyn in Wrexham, North Wales, have been fired for having illicit affairs with inmates

A cell at HMP Berwyn in a photo from 2017 – rooms all have a phone for outgoing calls 

Judge Niclas Parry told her: ‘There’s a very good reason why, during your induction and training, significant emphasis was placed on the importance of having appropriate relationships with prisoners.

READ MORE – How the ‘prison of the future’ came to be dubbed ‘Britain’s cushiest jail’ 

‘The security of the prison, the safety of staff, prison discipline and the safety of other prisoners are all placed at risk when officers fall to be controlled by prisoners.

‘You were fully aware of maintaining an appropriate distance, but selfishly, you went ahead and had such a relationship.

‘You’ve lost your employment and your marriage has ended, all as a result of your misconduct.

‘But to your credit, you have found alternative employment and there, you’re highly regarded.’

Judge Parry handed down a total sentence of nine months – but was persuaded to suspend it for two years due to two ‘exceptional’ features in the case.

He ruled that her relationship had not resulted in any illegal items or assistance being given to the prisoner – and she is the single mother to a young dependent child.

She must undertake 200 hours of unpaid work and 30 days of rehabilitation activity, as well as paying £128 by way of a victim surcharge.

A Prison Service spokesman said: ‘The overwhelming majority of Prison Service staff are hardworking and dedicated and we will not hesitate to punish those who break the rules.

‘Over 500 members of staff at HMP Berwyn have undertaken corruption prevention training in the last 18 months and our enhanced security is protecting the prison against attempts to smuggle illicit items inside.’

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