‘Vulnerable’ prison worker admits relationship with inmate

PUBLISHED: 05:30 28 August 2020

HMP Wayland Prison. Picture: Ian Burt

HMP Wayland Prison. Picture: Ian Burt


A “vulnerable” 20-year-old prison worker has been given a suspended prison sentence after admitting having an inappropriate relationship with an inmate.

Sarah Yen Hook, of Fye Bridge Street, Norwich, pleaded guilty to one count of misconduct in a public office after engaging in an “emotional relationship” with a prisoner while working at HMP Wayland in 2019.

Miss Hook, who was 19 at the time, was employed by DHL as a supervisor in a workshop at the Thetford prison and corresponded with a prisoner by letter and phone for around a month.

She appeared at Norwich Crown Court on Thursday, August 27, where Judge Stephen Holt gave Miss Hook an eight month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and ordered her to take part in rehabilitation activity.

Nicola May, prosecuting, told the court a search was carried out of a prisoner’s cell on October 20, 2019, which found a number of letters linked to the defendant where she wrote that she and the prisoner “seemed to have a laugh”, that he enjoyed coming to the workshop because of her and on his release they should go partying together.

The investigation found 45 calls had also been made between October 9 and October 20 between the defendant and the prisoner, which he dialled using his pin number from the prison.

Arriving at the prison on October 23, Miss Hook was told of the investigation and admitted to the offence.

Judge Holt said the defendant had shown true remorse and had no idea of the seriousness of her actions.

He said: “At the time you were a very vulnerable and somewhat naive 19-year-old and extremely remorseful for what you have done.

“It appears to me they are really rather innocent letters with some nebulous plans of the future.”

He said the danger of the situation could have led to Miss Hook being asked to bring items into the prison.

The judge said: “You were vulnerable for a number of reasons.

“The nature of the letters were not sexual which we sometimes see, there were no plans for you to bring into the prison contraband like drugs, mobile phones, sim cards.

“The prisoner himself is serving a nine-year sentence for a serious violence offence and has prior convictions for dishonesty.

“I had no doubt everything we have heard about you that you were to some extent manipulated.”

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