Ex-con says blackmail charge was ‘made up’

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AN EX PRISONER accused of blackmailing a female prison officer about her affair with an inmate told a jury the couple had decided to blame him for being caught.

Michael Fieldhouse, who is alleged to have used intimate love letters to force Rachael Klein to smuggle drugs into HMP Lindholme last year, told Doncaster Crown Court he had never seen the incriminating correspondence between Klein and prisoner Steven Chapman.

Giving evidence in his defence, 34-year-old Fieldhouse, of Derwent Crescent, Barnsley, said he “made assumptions” about the affair.

He said everybody had their suspicions - and he asked Chapman, 27, if he was having sex with senior prison officer Klein. Chapman denied it.

The court was earlier told about a large number of handwritten letters Klein, 29, had passed to Chapman which were of a romantic nature and some contained sexual references. Klein, of Stripe Road, Rossington, admits being involved in an inappropriate relationship with Chapman and will be sentenced later this month for an offence of misconduct in public office.

The prosecution alleged Fieldhouse threatened to tell the prison governor or the newspapers about the couple if Klein did not agree to smuggle cannabis and a heroin substitute into Lindholme in her bra.

Fieldhouse, who denies blackmail and conspiracy, said he never saw the letters or had any control over them.

“I swear to God I had no contact with them. I didn’t make any threat to expose her, never in a million years.”

Fieldhouse said drugs were rife in Lindholme, and that Chapman was using them all the way through his sentence for manslaughter.

The jury was earlier told of Fieldhouse’s past record of 47 offences - which include threatening behaviour, assault, drug possession, possessing an offensive weapon, possession of firearms and affray.

His last conviction in 2009 was for making threats to kill and he was completing an 18 month term at Lindholme.

In evidence he said he did not need drugs or money from selling them while in prison.

Asked why Klein should make the allegation he said: “Them two are up to no good, they got caught for it and want to blame me.”

The jury is due to retire to consider the verdict today.