Hollesley Bay case worker avoids jail term for relationship with inmate

A former inmate has spoken out over security and drugs issues at Hollesley Bay, Suffolk Picture: SAR

Rebecca Stevenson, 47, engaged in a relationship with an inmate at Hollesley Bay - Credit: Archant

A case worker at a Suffolk prison who began a relationship with an inmate has been spared an immediate jail sentence. 

Rebecca Stevenson, 47, was a case manager at Hollesley Bay prison, near Woodbridge, and was involved in helping prisoners find employment after their release, Ipswich Crown Court heard. 

The romantic relationship between Stevenson and the serving Hollesley Bay prisoner began in 2018, Caroline Milroy, prosecuting, told the court. 

A member of staff at the jail became suspicious about the prisoner, who was jailed in 1998, being in a relationship with someone who worked there, Ms Milroy said. 

Prison staff are legally able to listen to phone calls to family and friends, and the inmate's conversations for the past 90 days were downloaded. 

The prisoner was heard talking to a woman, and on the call log it was claimed he was speaking to his cousin. 

However, the staff member recognised Stevenson's voice, Ms Milroy said. 

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Over the 90 days, the prisoner had spoken to Stevenson a total of 324 times - on both her landline and mobile phone, the court heard. 

Summarising the nature of the calls, Ms Milroy said it was clear the pair were in an intimate relationship as sexual matters were discussed. 

Ms Milroy said that the inmate would also visit Stevenson at her home when on leave from the prison. 

Stevenson, who was employed by the Shaw Trust at the time, was escorted from the premises when the offending came to light and was suspended on June 25, 2018. 

She admitted she had been "stupid" at the time before answering "no comment" to police questions in interview on February 16, 2019. 

The inmate was moved to Norwich Prison before then being transferred to Warren Hill, and saw his sentence extended as a result of his actions. 

He was eventually released from prison in February 2021. 

Stevenson, of Eadle Street, Nuneaton, Warwickshire, who had no previous convictions, previously pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office. 

Lynne Shirley, mitigating, said Stevenson and the prisoner continue to be in a relationship and are now living together. 

The couple also recently got engaged, Ms Shirley added. 

Sentencing Stevenson on Thursday, Recorder Graham Huston handed her four months' imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with 120 hours of unpaid work. 

She was also ordered to pay £200 in court costs.