Female prison warder who had an affair with murderer sentenced to one year in jail
A prison officer who had sex in a cleaning cupboard with a murderer serving a life sentence at a maximum security prison has been jailed for 12 months.
Married Rachel Welburn (39) started an 18-month relationship with killer Daniel Crompton after she became his designated personal officer at Frankland Prison, which houses some of the worst criminals in the country.
Judge Christopher Prince, sentencing for a single charge of misconduct in a public office, at Durham Crown Court, said jail was inevitable, despite her strong record as a prison officer for 18 years, and the fact she is a mother of two young children.
He said it would be "hugely upsetting" for friends and family of Crompton's victim to hear of him having a sexual relationship while he was serving a life term.
The judge said: "The public do not expect prisoners, irrespective of the offences they have committed, to be engaging in sexual relationships when they should be serving their sentences."
Robin Patton, prosecuting, said Crompton was jailed for life in 2014 for the "cruel murder" of an 87-year-old Second World War veteran in his own home.
The killer broke into Frank Worsley's Bolton home, searching for money for drugs, and beat him to death. He was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 18 years.
The attraction between him and the officer was "instantaneous", Mr Patton said, and although she was married and had recently returned to work from maternity leave, they embarked on an affair when Crompton was 27 and she was 36.
Both professed their love for the other, and they had an intimate relationship, including sex in a cleaning cupboard on the wing, the court heard.
She repeatedly told Crompton she would leave her husband, also a prison officer, and that she would see him when he was released, the court heard.
Welburn got Crompton to ask for a transfer to Full Sutton Prison to reduce the risk of them being caught, and visited him there despite the risk of being recognised. She arranged for him to be allowed to call her phones from prison, assuming a false name, and frequently wrote to him.
But by the summer of 2018, the relationship cooled and Crompton told an officer he had been having an affair with a female guard in what Mr Patton described as "an act of revenge or spite".
There was an investigation and when she was challenged, she claimed Crompton had threatened to hurt her husband, had blackmailed her and she had to go along with it.
Police wasted time investigating the false claims and she eventually only admitted what she had done at court.
Joanne Kidd, defending, said Welburn's shame and regret were beyond measure.
She had a stressful, high-pressure job, was a diligent and caring colleague and returned to work after maternity leave while suffering from chronic back pain, the court heard. Miss Kidd told the judge: "Mrs Welburn... talks about seeing herself as through glass. She cannot explain why she behaved in this way."
The judge said he could not suspend the sentence but told Welburn, of Abbey Green, Spennymoor, the 12 months' jail term was shorter than it could have been on account of her young children.