Prison worker jailed for affair with inmate

Alison Sharples leaving Preston Crown Court, Preston, August 28 2015. Alison Sharples from Chorley, Lancs., is accused of misconduct at a prison.

Thomas Temple/rossparry.co.uk
Alison Sharples leaving Preston Crown Court, Preston, August 28 2015. Alison Sharples from Chorley, Lancs., is accused of misconduct at a prison. Thomas Temple/rossparry.co.uk

A grandmother who had an affair with an inmate while working at HMP Garth has been jailed for nine months.

Alison Sharples was found guilty of misconduct in a public office after jurors at her trial heard a syringe with traces of the inmate’s semen was found in her handbag.

Judge Simon Newell, sitting at Preston’s Sessions House court, imposed the custodial term on the 46-year-old.

Sharples, of Hamilton Street, Chorley, had denied having an inappropriate relationship with inmate Marvyn Berkeley while she worked as an operational support officer at HMP Garth in Leyland.

The court had previously heard the syringe, with the inmate’s semen in the bottom, was found in her handbag when she arrived for a night shift at the jail two years ago.

When quizzed, Sharples claimed she had used it to give Calpol to her granddaughter.

But prosecutor Camille Morland told the court tests revealed DNA matched that of serving prisoner Marvyn Berkeley - or his twin brother.

Sharples former friend Nicola Ball gave evidence Sharples was having an inappropriate relationship with Berkeley, and said Sharples had gathered the semen from a sample pushed under a cell door in a plastic bag.

The Prison Service launched a probe after Sharples arrived for work and was searched by security in October 2014, in which they found a purple syringe applicator.

When Sharples was questioned under caution on two occasions, she said she was unaware of the semen.

But in a later defence statement she claimed she was given the syringe in the “course of her legitimate duties” by the inmate who said he wanted to “have a baby with her”.

Police later found a love letter in her home telling her to “be strong”.