Prison officer admits sexually assaulting inmate at Suffolk prison

A PRISON officer at a Suffolk jail for young offenders who has admitted grooming a 17-year-old male inmate for sex has been warned by a judge that he is likely to be jailed when he is sentenced next month.

William Payne, 55, who was employed at Warren Hill in Hollesley, near Woodbridge, pleaded guilty at Ipswich Crown Court to two offences of abusing a position of trust by sexually assaulting the youth while he was looking after him in prison during a four month period between August and December 2008.

Payne, of Pepper Place, Kesgrave, also admitted attempting to pervert the course of justice by offering the victim of the sex assaults a car and cash in return for not giving evidence against him.

He denied four offences of sexual assault and two offences of assault by penetration and these were left on the court file.

John Farmer, prosecuting, said the two offences of sexual assault admitted by Payne were samples of a course of conduct by him on the victim which included kissing, masturbation, oral sex and digital penetration.

“The defendant is a prison officer who had care of this young man and groomed him to a point where he was able to sexually abuse him at every opportunity,” said Mr Farmer.

Adjourning the hearing until May 10 for a pre-sentence report, Recorder Martyn Levett warned Payne that it was “most likely” that he would be jailed when he returned to court for sentence next month.

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“The usual sentence is going to be a custodial sentence,” he said.

He released Payne on conditional bail and ordered him not to contact the victim of the assaults or members of his family.

Joanne Eley, for Payne, said her client had spent many years working in the prison environment as a prison officer and had no previous convictions.

She said that she would be providing the court with a number of written character references at the sentencing hearing and said the maximum prison sentence for the two sex offences admitted by Payne was five years.

She said Payne was currently receiving medication from his doctor for a heart condition.

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