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10 June 2010, 06:53
A woman prison officer who had sex romps with a prisoner in his cell was told she must go to jail.
But first, Judge John Bevan QC told the disgraced officer, Donna Stanton, she could have bail and give birth to the baby she is expecting at the end of this month.
Stanton, 27, became "infatuated and absolutely obsessed" with inmate Eric Fitzgerald after he arrived at the prison where she worked.
She smuggled a mobile phone into the prison for him as well as food, tobacco and newspapers.
As he neared the end of a seven year jail term, Miss Stanton visited him in his cell nearly every day for sex games. After his release from prison she even bought him a car, said prosecutor Laura Blackband.
But a jury heard this week, when the relationship eventually turned sour and Mr Fitzgerald wanted nothing more to do with her, she sought revenge.
Miss Blackband told the jury, "There is a saying isn't there that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and that is what this case is about."
She said Miss Stanton went to her bosses inside Bedford Prison and then to the police claiming Mr Fitzgerald had been blackmailing her, threatened her with violence and had stolen her car.
As a result, Luton crown court was told that after giving her account to the police, he was arrested. It was only when detectives questioned him that "the truth emerged," said the prosecutor.
"This was an obsessive bitter woman who couldn't accept the relationship was going nowhere," said Miss Blackband as she opened the case to the jury.
In the dock Miss Stanton pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to two offences of misconduct in a public office, giving a mobile phone to a serving prisoner and doing acts tending to pervert the course of public justice.
But yesterday (Wednesday), after Mr Fitzgerald had started to give his evidence, she dramatically changed her plea to two of the charges and the trial was stopped.
The court heard that Stanton, who is pregnant by another man, is due to give birth in a few weeks' time. Her barrister, David Matthew, said because of complications it was expected that she would be "induced" within the next month. He asked for the sentencing of Miss Stanton to be put back until after she had given birth to her baby and made a full recovery.
Miss Stanton was given bail and told she must report to her local police station twice a week.
The judge said she had behaved in a "wholly irresponsible fashion," having got carried away by Mr Fitzgerald. He told her she will never work as a prison officer again.
"Because you are pregnant, I accede to your request that I sentence you after the birth of your baby." That is likely to take place this September.