Chaplain jailed for having sex with prisoner

A prison chaplain has been jailed for eight months after she had a sexual relationship with an inmate.

Married mother-of-two Jade Watson, 44, also smuggled a phone, vodka and Maximuscle Cyclone bars into Winchester Prison for Daniel Thornton and the pair had sex in January last year when he was released.

She smuggled in the goods and then hid the phone in the prison chaplaincy for him when he was returned to prison last May.

Watson, from Andover, Hants, claimed she was blackmailed into getting the items after she was persuaded to send Thornton a photo of herself in her underwear, the Southern Daily Echo reported.

She pleaded guilty to two counts of bringing prohibited articles into prison and one of leaving the prohibited phone inside when she appeared at Winchester Crown Court last Friday, a court official confirmed.

She was jailed for eight months for each offence, to run concurrently, by Judge Keith Cutler.

Watson has been sacked from her job, but it is believed her husband Peter is standing by her.

Watson offered spiritual guidance for the 550 prisoners at the Victorian Category B jail as part of Church of England evangelical group the Church Army.

In a statement, the organisation said: "The Church Army takes this matter extremely seriously and, as well as withdrawing her commission as a Church Army officer, she has been dismissed from Church Army's employment for gross misconduct.

"Church Army has co-operated fully with the prison authorities, the police and the Diocese of Winchester throughout this case.

"Church Army acted swiftly to suspend Jade Watson's commission as soon as she was arrested."

The statement explained that Watson's licence to operate as an evangelist in the prison was also withdrawn.

Church Army chief executive Mark Russell said: "I am really saddened that Jade's ministry should come to an end in these circumstances. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected."