Nurse working at top security prison ‘had 
sex with rapist’

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A prison nurse had a sexual relationship with a dangerous rapist in top security Wakefield Prison, even buying top-ups for a mobile phone smuggled in so they could keep in contact, a jury was told.

Karen Cosford, 47, exchanged loving text messages on the phone with lifer Brian McBride and was seen kissing him in front of other staff in the health unit, Richard Wright, prosecuting, claimed yesterday.

Karen Cosford

Karen Cosford

She wrote him a love letter found hidden in a bag of sugar in the unit kitchen and in texts told him “You’re my world”, describing him as “dead sexy”.

The relationship was exposed after searches began to find McBride’s contraband, and his boast to Cosford’s prison officer husband Darrie of the affair, prompting Cosford to phone in sick and then allege she had been raped by McBride and blackmailed into keeping quiet, he said.

Mr Wright told Leeds Crown Court it was the Crown’s case Cosford, who denies three charges of misconduct, was not a victim but had “grossly breached the trust placed in her” by having a consensual relationship with McBride, having become “emotionally involved” with him.

She admitted on one occasion performing a sexual act on McBride in his cell while, she claimed in interview, colleagues Carolyn Falloon and Jacqueline Flynn “effectively stood guard outside”.

David Sunderland

David Sunderland

Health care officer Falloon, a friend of Cosford, knew of the relationship because on at least one occasion she had witnessed them having sex and had not reported it, he said, adding: “A sexual relationship between a prisoner and a member of the prison service staff is plainly a matter of major security concern and represents a gross disregard for the rules of the prison and the standards of behaviour expected of a member of staff.”

Mr Wright told the jury Falloon also turned a blind eye to McBride’s possession of a mobile phone and had also obtained top-ups for him.

“Throughout 2008 and 2009 the prosecution contends that roles and responsibilities in the Health Care Centre were turned on their heads as members of staff, prison officers and prison service nurses alike allowed themselves to be drawn into utterly corrupt relationships with Brian McBride that undermined the integrity, safety and security of the prison.”

The prosecutor said the jury might hear claims during the trial the corruption in the centre went beyond the defendants.

Jacqueline Flynn

Jacqueline Flynn

McBride, an inpatient in the unit, who also worked as a cleaner, was “undoubtedly a dangerous offender” convicted of multiple offences or rape and violence.

He was “an intelligent and well practised manipulator who was expert at inveigling his way into the confidence of others,” Mr Wright said. “He also seems to have been an accomplished liar and fantasist who created a fantasy world around himself in which he portrayed himself as well connected individual with links to the underworld and more importantly in the context of corrupt relationships that developed here, as a man with significant wealth outside the prison.”

Mr Wright added he “delighted in breaking down the barriers of appropriate conduct and behaviour” that should have separated him from staff. The three women, would smoke in his cell, and engaged in regular text messages with him when not at work, often talking of his money, suggesting there was a motive of greed.

Cosford of Marston Walk, Altofts, Wakefield, denies three charges of misconduct in a public office by engaging in a sexual relationship with a prisoner, failing to notify authorities of his possession of a phone and purchasing top ups on his behalf.

Falloon, 50, of Manor Crescent, Walton, Wakefield, denies three charges of misconduct by failing to notify the relationship, McBride’s possession of a phone and purchasing tops ups.

Flynn, 46 of The Leys, South Kirkby, denies two charges by not reporting the relationship and McBride’s possession of a phone. David Sutherland, 49, of Millcroft, Lofthouse, Wakefield denies failing to report McBride’s phone.

The trial continues on Monday.