Prison nurse 'had sex with rapist'

 

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The Independent Online

A prison nurse had sex with a convicted rapist at a top security jail, a court heard today.

Karen Cosford, 47, exchanged intimate text messages on a smuggled mobile phone during her relationship with lifer Brian McBride and even wrote him a love letter, Leeds Crown Court was told.

But Cosford, who worked in the medical centre at Wakefield Prison, denies misconduct, claiming McBride raped her, then bribed and intimidated her so she would not report it.

The married prison worker, of Normanton, West Yorkshire, "grossly breached the trust placed in her" and compromised prison security by having sex with McBride, Richard Wright, prosecuting, told jurors.

She also performed a sex act on him as two colleagues - Carolyn Falloon and Jacqueline Flynn - guarded his cell, Mr Wright said.

After supplying mobile phone top-ups to McBride, Cosford texted him telling him he was "dead sexy" and that she loved him, it was claimed.

The court heard that in one of the messages she thanked him for a "lovely box of chocolates" and, in another, told him he was "always in her heart".

The alleged relationship was exposed when McBride's cell was searched and he told Cosford's husband Darrie, a prison officer, he had been having an affair with his wife, the court heard.

Falloon had previously caught the pair having sex in the medical unit but failed to report it, the court heard.

During the search, prison officers found a phone charger in McBride's room.

They then hunted elsewhere in the jail and discovered pictures of Cosford, a list of phone numbers - including some of prison staff - and a love letter to the prisoner hidden in a jar of sugar.

Following the discovery, Cosford rang in to work sick, then claimed she was raped.

But Mr Wright said she "acted as she did as she had become emotionally involved".

"The prosecution will, on careful analysis of the evidence, invite you to reject that suggestion (of rape)," he told jurors.

In numerous text messages recovered by investigators, she told him: "You're my world", "Can't believe how well we get on", "Will ring you when I get chance", "Loving you, babe" and signed one off "love and miss you", the court heard.

McBride worked as a cleaner at the medical centre, where he was also an in-patient, when he and Cosford began their relationship, Mr Wright said.

An "accomplished liar and fantasist", he told prison staff he was enormously wealthy with links to the criminal underworld who promised to give Cosford large sums of cash which he claimed he had deposited.

"He delighted in breaking down the barriers which should separate him from these defendants and the prison services staff, and we accept he did so by a process of manipulation," said Mr Wright.

"Throughout 2008 and 2009 the prosecution contend that roles and responsibilities turned on their heads as staff were drawn into utterly inappropriate relationships with Brian McBride which undermined the integrity, security and safety of the prison.

"Prosecution say that each of these defendants entered into a corrupt relationship with the prisoner that even, in the case of Karen Cosford, extended to a sexual relationship with him.

"Such a relationship was plainly prohibited and a gross breach of the trust placed in her."

Cosford is charged with having a sexual relationship with a prisoner, failing to tell authorities he had a mobile phone and supplying McBride with mobile top-up vouchers. She denies all charges.

Her medical centre colleagues also face various misconduct charges.

Falloon, 50, of Wakefield, and Flynn, 46, from Pontefract, deny charges of failing to report the relationship and not reporting McBride's mobile phone.

Falloon and David Sunderland, 49, of Wakefield, also deny supplying McBride with mobile top-ups.

All members of staff had at least ten years' experience working in prisons, said Mr Wright, and Cosford had spent the last 15 years working at Wakefield, which has more life sentence prisoners than any other UK jail.

The trial, which was adjourned until Monday, is expected to last several weeks.

PA