Intimate love letters between a female prison officer and a male inmate at a Doncaster jail were used to blackmail her so she would hide drugs in her bra to bring them inside, a jury has been told.
Rachel Lauren Klein was passing handwritten letters to killer Steven Chapman up to twice a day while working on a wing at HMP Lindholme over a period of several weeks. But other prisoners got to see the letters.
One of the inmates, Michael Fieldhouse, aged 34, is accused of using knowledge of the illicit relationship to get drugs including cannabis and steroids into the jail, Doncaster Crown Court was told.
Fieldhouse, of Derwent Crescent, Barnsley, who has since been released, denies blackmailing Rachael Klein and conspiracy to supply drugs.
Klein, aged 29, of Stripe Road, Rossington, is due to be sentenced later this month for misconduct in public office, which she has admitted.
She was a senior prison officer at Lindholme in January last year when she began the “wholly inappropriate” relationship with Chapman, said Carl Fitch, prosecuting.
She was going out with a prison officer at the same time - and her parents were prison governors, but not at Lindholme.
Mr Fitch said Chapman kept in his cell her letters to him, which talked of what they would like to do together if he was not serving a life term.
But he said it was blatantly obvious to other inmates what was going on between the pair, and Fieldhouse obtained some of the letters.
He then told Klein that if she didn’t bring drugs into Lindholme for him he would “go to the governor and the newspapers to expose her relationship”, said Mr Fitch.
The prison was monitoring Klein’s conduct and, when she was arrested, a bundle of the letters was recovered after her home was searched, along with a phone number for Fieldhouse’s cousin, who was to provide the drugs for Klein to smuggle into prison under her bra.
In evidence, Klein said she knew the relationship with Chapman was wrong but a lot of what she wrote in the letters to him was “fantasy and bravado”.
She said he knew about her relationship with her prison officer partner, and was upset when he heard they had become engaged.
In May last year Chapman told her Fieldhouse had found out about the letters and their relationship.
Klein said: “Fieldhouse came to my office and told me I was a stupid girl for getting involved and I shouldn’t be bonding - but that he couldn’t pass up an opportunity like this.
“He wanted me to fetch drugs in. I told him I couldn’t do it and I got distressed.
“He told me not to cry and he’d give me a day to think about it.
“He told me if I didn’t do it the letters would be sent to the newspapers and the governor.
“I was terrified, I didn’t know what to do. I’d got into a situation I couldn’t get out of.”
Klein was instructed to call Fieldhouse’s cousin and pick up the drugs in a Barnsley pub. She made the call because she felt threatened but told the jury: “I was never going to take these drugs into prison.”
She added: “I don’t know why I got involved. I didn’t know what I was doing.”
The trial continues today.