Woman jailer quits over affair claim with murderer

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A prison officer at a top-security Yorkshire jail has quit following allegations that she had an affair with an inmate serving life for murder.

The woman had been under investigation for several months after it was claimed she had sex with Leigh Thornhill, a Category A prisoner at Wakefield Prison.

In a separate case, the Prison Service said two other officers at the jail had been “appropriately disciplined” after another murderer was found in a fellow inmate’s cell.

Timothy Cuffy, who is serving life for the sex-driven killing of a 13-year-old girl, sneaked into his lover’s cell after making a dummy to fool officers into thinking he was asleep in his own.

Both scandals were exclusively revealed by the Yorkshire Post last year.

Thornhill was jailed for life in 2004 after he admitted murdering a mother of two with a piece of wood and attacking another woman on the same night.

The Old Bailey heard that Thornhill, a former soldier, was a teenager when he battered Corinne Bailey, 38, to death in the street in August 2003.

Ms Bailey was attacked as she walked to a 24-hour shop in West Croydon, south London. Her body was found in a pool of blood with 68 injuries to her head, body and limbs.

Only two hours earlier, Thornhill had attacked another woman by punching her in the head, forcing her to the ground and squeezing her neck.

The woman lost consciousness for a while, but she was later able to run away and seek help from a group of men nearby.

The judge who sentenced Thornhill, Mr Justice Astill, said there was a clear sexual element to the attacks, although the killer’s motives were “disturbingly unexplained”.

Thornhill’s “dangerous and perverted mind” lay behind the attacks, the judge added.

A Prison Service spokeswoman said: “A prison officer at HMP Wakefield has resigned after allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a prisoner.”

Cuffy is understood to have spent up to 16 hours in a fellow inmate’s cell, having made the dummy to make it seem all was normal. He was discovered on the morning of August 4 last year.

His case bore striking similarities to the escape of three bank robbers from California’s Alcatraz prison in 1962, which later became the plot of a film starring Hollywood actor Clint Eastwood.

Cuffy was already a convicted sex offender when he murdered Sandy Hadfield in 2002, after she called at his home in Usher Green, Lincoln, looking for her friend.

After plying her with vodka, Cuffy led the girl to secluded woods where he tried to have sex with her before slitting her throat with a 12in Gurkha knife.

A Prison Service spokeswoman said: “HMP Wakefield has concluded its investigation following an incident in August.

“Prison procedures have been improved as a result and it has appropriately disciplined the staff involved.”