The husband of a prison teacher exposed her affair with an inmate after she sent a letter ‘from her children’ saying ‘thank you for making mummy happy’, a court has heard.
Melissa Frost’s husband discovered 107 messages between the pair on a secret mobile SIM card after suspecting she was having an affair possibly with a prison officer.
Norwich Crown Court heard how he searched their home and found the SIM which he put into his own phone and read messages of ‘loving and longing’, saying they missed each other and hoped to be together soon.
Frost’s husband immediately reported what he found to the prison’s deputy governor who began an investigation in December 2017.
They discovered the mother-of-two, 36, had exchanged letters, phone calls and texts with the prisoner over two months of that same year at Wayland Prison, near Thetford, Norfolk.
Frost, of North Walsham, later made a ‘full and frank confession’ that she had been in a relationship with the inmate who was serving a five year and four month sentence for arson at the Category C jail.
She insisted they had only indulged in kisses and cuddles, rather than full sexual activity.
But recovered letters between them made it clear they intended to engage in further sexual activity on the inmate’s release from prison.
One of the letters was written in the names of Frost’s two children, now aged five and seven, in which they thanked the inmate ‘for making Mummy happy.’
It was also found he had called her from an official prison phone using his allocation of minutes for private calls, said prosecutor Martin Ivory.
Mr Ivory said Frost worked as a supply teacher at the prison on a zero hours contract and had become friendly with the prisoner in July 2017, and later began speaking over the prison phone.
He added: ‘She felt she was in love with him at that time, but she was not quite sure of her feelings for him at the time of the interview.
‘She denied any sexual conduct, but was aware of her responsibilities for security being as she was a prison key holder. She had not discussed what was going on with any other prisoner or prison staff.
‘At the time this was going on, there were difficulties in her private life.’
Frost admitted misconduct in a public office and wept in the dock as she was jailed for four months.
Judge Stephen Holt told her: ‘This sort of offending goes to the heart of the prison system. It opens up a prison to the danger of blackmail and contraband entering the prison system, which causes so much damage.
‘I and most people have considerable sympathy for you, but this court has to give a clear message that anyone working in the prison system must expect an immediate custodial sentence for this type of offence.’
Judge Holt said he considered the letter from Frost’s children to the prisoner was an aggravating factor in the case.
The court heard that Frost had now lost her career as a teacher, but had got a new job and was in a new relationship.
David Stewart, defending, said she had made full admissions and suffered stress, worry and sleepless nights while waiting for the case to come to court.
He added: ‘There is no suggestion of illicit substances or items being brought into the prison which would compromise security. She was going through a rough patch at home with her former husband…
‘You have to ask what the defendant has done. She had a relationship, but it was not of a sexual nature.’