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Prison officer jailed
over inmate abuse

PUBLISHED: 09:00 11 May 2010

William Payne at Ipswich Crown Court.

William Payne at Ipswich Crown Court.

Archant

A PRISON officer at a Suffolk jail for young offenders who groomed a 17-year-old male inmate for sex and then tried to bribe him not to give evidence against him has been jailed for three years.

Former Marine William John Payne, 54, who was employed at Warren Hill in Hollesley, near Woodbridge, admitted two offences of abusing a position of trust by sexually touching 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 perverting the course of justice by offering the victim of the sex assaults a car, cash and golf clubs in return for not giving evidence against him.

Jailing him for three years, Judge David Goodin described what Payne had done as “one of the greatest imaginable abuses of trust.”

He said Payne, who had been a prison officer for 30 years, had betrayed the vulnerable young man in his care and had breached the high degree of trust placed in him in his role as a prison officer.

He said the sexual contact which took place between Payne and the inmate had initially happened once or twice a week but had become more frequent.

He ordered Payne to sign on the Sex Offenders’ Register for seven years.

John Farmer, prosecuting, said the two offences 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.

He said the victim was a vulnerable prisoner who was being treated for depression.

On his release from prison the victim had gone to Payne’s flat and further sexual activity had taken place between them. However within five weeks of his release he had disclosed what had taken place while he was in prison and an inquiry was started.

Mr Farmer said Payne had initially denied the allegations and had given the victim a car, cash and golf clubs in a bid to persuade him not to give evidence.

Joanne Eley, for Payne, said her client had known his professional duties prevented him from having sexual relationships with prisoners.

“He accepts stepping miles over the line of his professional responsibilities,” she said.

She added that Payne had no previous convictions and had been highly regarded during his career in the prison service.

He was now bankrupt and had debts of £30,000.

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