Ex-inmate cleared of blackmail over jail officer’s affair

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A FORMER prisoner has been cleared of blackmailing a female officer who was having an affair with an inmate at a Doncaster jail.

Doncaster Crown Court jurors took less than an hour to find Michael Fieldhouse not guilty of blackmail and conspiracy to supply drugs to another inmate at HMP Lindholme.

Fieldhouse, 34, of Derwent Crescent, Barnsley, denied the allegations.

He claimed they were made up by Rachael Klein when she was in trouble for her inappropriate relationship with prisoner Steven Chapman.

The prosecution had claimed he used love letters to threaten Klein with exposure unless she smuggled cannabis and heroin substitute into the jail for him.

The jury accepted that he made no attempt to threaten Klein.

Klein, 29, of Stripe Road, Rossington, and Chapman, 27, who is in jail, will be sentenced this month.

She admits misconduct in public office and he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply drugs.

During the trial the jury heard senior officer Klein had been in the habit of writing to and spending time with Chapman – a lifer in for manslaughter – and the prosecution claimed 34-year-old Fieldhouse threatened to inform the authorities and the Press if she did not do as he wished.

Klein, 29, had begun her affair with Chapman in January last year and continued to write to him, sometimes as often as twice a day and during her shifts at the prison, even after getting engaged to another prison officer the following month.

In one letter she wrote:

“I know you have got my back baby, for life, and you know I have got yours. I’ll never let anyone hurt you. I’ll do anything for you, that’s gospel.”

She even wrote to him after her arrest a month later.

But the couple’s affair was soon being gossiped about amongst inmates on L Wing of Doncaster Prison.

Klein and Chapman had kissed and held hands and the prison officer would even bring her lover stashes of tobacco and she discussed having children with him in one of her letters.

The besotted officer had visited Chapman’s mother and had written a letter in support of his parole application in 2009, before the couple began their relationship, the court heard.

The relationship began early in 2010 – the main part of which was the exchanging of letters, love letters discussing their plans, what they would like to do if they weren’t in prison.

Chapman kept those letters in his cell and they spent a lot of time together. She was the senior officer on that wing and it soon became obvious to others that there was a relationship.

The prison monitored the situation for some time and officers were aware of the relationship. Klein, who was promoted to a senior prison officer position in September 2008 after joining the prison service in 2000, was arrested on May 14 last year and officers discovered the love letters.