A senior prison officer who struck up an intense sexual relationship with a heroin dealer inmate and smuggled in drugs hidden inside chocolate Kinder egss for prisoners has been jailed.
Julie Turton, 54, exposed herself to a risk of blackmail by engaging in sexual contact with heroin dealer Danny King, Birmingham Crown Court heard.
The wing manager claimed she had enjoyed the best day of her life during her relationship with King, aged in his 30s, and even sent him an intimate picture of herself on her iPhone when he was transferred to another jail.
Turton, who worked at HMP Birmingham, was jailed for two years and eight months after she admitted five charges of misconduct in public office.
She had acquired stereo equipment from Argos for another prisoner, conducted illicit phone communications with inmates and supplied cannabis found hidden inside two chocolate Kinder eggs.
Robert Price, prosecuting, told the court that King had been housed on M Wing at HMP Birmingham between November 2011 and May 2012 before he was moved to HMP Leyhill in Gloucestershire.
Turton’s affair was exposed after police raided her home in May last year and found a hand-written, but undated, letter from King addressed to ‘my beautiful sexy Julie….’
‘In the body of that letter, Danny King was expressing his undying love for Miss Turton,’ Mr Price told the court.
Subsequent police inquiries established that the lovers had spent almost 400 minutes chatting over the phone while King was serving his sentence.
Jonathan Park, mitigating, told the court that Turton’s life had spiralled out of control after she found out her husband had been unfaithful.
‘At that stage, for the first time in her life, she felt particularly isolated and she was emotionally vulnerable,’ Mr Park said.
‘Her position is that the sexual activity (with King) was restricted to two occasions, that they happened in a prison setting, and that the activity itself was a combination of kissing and sexual touching – and on each occasion lasted no more than five minutes.’
Passing sentence, Recorder Thomas Rochford told Turton, of Hembs Crescent, Hamstead, Birmingham, that her ‘special link’ with King and inappropriate friendships with others defied belief.
Pointing out that Turton was well aware her actions would compromise the security of the 160 inmates in her care, the judge told her: ‘What you did in your role as a senior prison officer was to form a sexual relationship with Danny King.
Persuasion: Arteef Hussain, 25, who is already serving a six-year term for possession of a handgun, was sentenced to a further 12 months for encouraging Turton to supply cannabis
‘The precise details and frequency of what went on between you is not known, suffice it to say that some sort of sexual intimacy took place on prison premises in Birmingham.
‘You also knew, no doubt, that your sexual relationship was bound to cause serious risks to security and to discipline.
‘People like you are trusted and the prison service depends upon the trust that is placed in staff such as you.’
Recorder Rochford also sentenced 25-year-old Arteef Hussain, who is serving a six-year term for possession of a handgun, to a further 12 months’ custody for encouraging Turton to supply cannabis while he was being held at HMP Birmingham.
Speaking after the hearing, Detective Chief Inspector Martin Brennan, who led the investigation, said the prison had raised concerns about Turton, who was then dismissed from her post.
Pete Small, director of the privately-run prison, said the sentence properly reflected Turton’s ‘reckless’ behaviour.
‘As an established prison officer with more than 20 years of experience, Julie Turton not only let herself down, but abused the trust of her colleagues and the prison service,’ said Mr Small.
‘The overwhelming majority of our staff act with integrity and professionalism to provide a safe environment for prisoners, staff and prison visitors.
‘There is no place for misconduct or corruption at the prison and if we have any suspicions over any staff, we will always investigate and, if necessary, work with the police to bring a prosecution as we did in this case.’