Stephanie Smithwhite, a 40-year-old female prison officer has admitted to cutting a hole in her uniform in order to have an affair with a convicted criminal named Cocky in a prison facility near Durham.
Appearing before Durham Crown Court on Friday, Smithwhite, from Boldon Colliery, South Tyneside was handed a sentence of two years after the Probation Service completed a report on her misconduct.
The prison officer admitted two counts of misconduct in a public office in January, the first related to their sexual relationship, said to have lasted between June and December 2018.
Smithwhite initially denied cutting a hole in the trousers of her prison uniform for a sexual purpose, but the sentencing judge said it was hard to imagine why else it was there.
The court heard how she ‘fell in love with the wrong man in the wrong situation’ and exchanged hundreds of sexually explicit love letters with the infamous drug baron.
Prosecutor Rupert Doswell told the court that Smithwhite was found to have a tattoo of a rose with the name ‘Curtis’ next to it, which she said she had done in December 2018.
She was also found to be in possession of a Zanco ‘prison phone’ of the kind often smuggled into jails – though she denied she intended to take it in for Warren’s use.
The pair were discovered when other members of staff at the prison became suspicious and Smithwhite was subject to direct surveillance until December 13, 2018 when she was caught passing a note to the inmate, which he had attempted to eat when they were caught.
The note was recovered and further searches were carried out including of Smithwhite’s car where two mobile phones were found – one black and one white Samsung.
It was found out she had wanted to smuggle one of the smaller phones to Cocky in prison.
Judge Jonathan Carroll said prisons were there to ensure the protection of society and victims of crime and they ‘are not easy places to manage.’
Curtis is Warren, 57, is a Liverpool-born gangster who became an international drug trafficker worth tens of millions of pounds.
He was born in Toxteth and embarked on a criminal career from an early age. At just 12 he stole a car. Then, after leaving school with no qualifications, he was sent to Borstal at 18 for attacking a police officer and being involved in a riot.