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Prison officer jailed for smuggling steroids and phones

Gemma Farr worked in a prisoner rehab role for seven years and fell in love with convicted killer

A prison officer who fell in love with a convicted killer has been jailed for smuggling steroids and phones into prison in her underwear.

Gemma Farr was found to have abused her position at HMP Dovegate in Staffordshire after bosses alerted police about her conduct in September 2017, amid rumours she had a romance with the prisoner who is serving a life sentence.

The 37-year-old, who worked in a prisoner rehab role for seven years, indicated she hid the banned items in her underwear during a police interview.

Analysis of her phone showed over 1,500 contacts as well as calls, texts and WhatsApp messages from June to September 2017.

Her number was suspected of being a 'pool phone' used secretively by prisoners, West Midlands Police said.

At Birmingham Crown Court on Tuesday, Farr, of Draycott, Derbyshire, was jailed for 32 months after admitting conspiring to supply steroids and phones into prison, the force said.

A third charge of misconduct in a public office was left to lie on file.

The disgraced prison officer had a routine of leaving the HMP Dovegate grounds and arranged regular meetings with Peter Cochrane in nearby pub car-parks where the consignments were handed over.

The 58-year-old, from Cross Lane in Salford, was handed an eight-month jail term for his part in the supply conspiracy.

Another inmate, convicted robber Ricky Walsh, 34, was discovered trying to flush a Samsung handset down his cell toilet during a lockdown search and will be sentenced after orchestrating the supply of drugs and phones.

His partner Louise Brierley, 34, from Manchester, was ordered to carry out 200 hours' unpaid work after admitting taking deposits from associates of prisoners who used the contraband supply chain and putting them in her bank account.

Detective Constable Stephanie Petersen, said: "This latest conviction is the result of a year-long investigation.

"The group involved in the conspiracy included a serving prison officer, a convicted prisoner, the prisoner's partner and an associate used to transport the illicit items.

"This sends a clear message to all those who considering smuggling illegal items into a prison: whatever your role we will investigate offences and the perpetrators risk significant prison sentences."

Georgina Davies, from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This was a complex case as the majority of the evidence was derived from phone downloads, cell site and banking evidence.

"By scrutinising this evidence, the CPS was able to demonstrate connections between the offenders which secured the conviction for the conspiracy."