'Love struck' prison tutor jailed for having relationship with murderer at high security jail

A 'love struck' prison tutor who smuggled porn into prison for a prisoner serving life for murder she was having a relationship with has been locked up for two years.

Monday, 10th September 2018, 12:42 pm
Updated Monday, 10th September 2018, 1:43 pm
Drinkwater covers her face as she arrives at court

Samantha Drinkwater was working in the education department at high security HMP Whitemoor when she struck up the relationship with inmate Michael Gregory.

Drinkwater smuggled in a mobile phone memory card filled with sexually explicit images and video for Gregory.

She was also caught on surveillance cameras in an office committing 'a number of sexual acts' with Gregory.

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Drinkwater covers her face as she arrives at court

Gregory was jailed for a minimum of 35 years in 2005 when he was part of 'The Burger Bar Boys,' a gang which shot dead two teenage girls in Birmingham.

When she was arrested, police found a quantity of cannabis in her car boot.

Today (Monday) Drinkwater (49) of Hawthorn Road, Ramsey, covered her face as she arrived at Peterborough Crown Court, where was jailed for a total of two years by Judge Matthew Lowe, who said she had acted 'like a love struck teenager' . She had pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office, conveying a class B article into a prison, and possession of cannabis with intent to supply at a previous hearing.

Drinkwater's barrister, Mark Shelley, asked Judge Lowe to consider suspending the sentence - but Drinkwater shook in the dock as the judge said the offences were so serious only immediate custody could be considered, because of the risks to safety and security at the jail.

Samantha Drinkwater

Benedict Peers, prosecuting, told the court Drinkwater had first started working at the prison in 2014, and was employed by People Plus.

He said: "Mr Gregory was a long term prisoner at the jail, and a student in the education department.

"Concerns were raised about the relationship in November 2015, but Drinkwater denied there was a relationship, and gave assurances she would attempt o avoid communication with him as much as possible.

"However, in May 2017 there were still concerns, and covert surveillance was installed in her office. The CCTV captured a number of sexual acts between the defendant and Mr Gregory, as well as passing of items from Mrs Drinkwater to Mr Gregory."

Drinkwater was arrested in July, when she denied all the offences.

Her car was searched and the 27g of cannabis was found - which the court heard had a value inside prison of between £1,400 and £2,800.

A mobile phone was also found, which had sexual messages going between the pair on it.

Mr Gregory and his cell was searched, and the memory card was found hidden on him. The same images were found on Drinkwater's home computer.

While initially denying the offences, Drinkwater eventually pleaded guilty to all counts.

Mr Shelley said: "She should have known better. She was in an emotionally unstable state, and was used by a prisoner.

"She tells me she was in love with this man, and has thrown away her job and her good name for an emotional attachment.

"I haven't been able to understand why she did this, and she says 'I don't know either.'

"It is deeply embarrassing for her, and difficult for her to accept she did this."

The court was told she suffered medical issues, including anxiety and fibromyalgia, which causes pain across her body, and the court heard she was taking cannabis as a pain relief.

Judge Lowe said the offences were more serious because she worked at a high security prison.

He said: "You worked at a high security prison, HMP Whitemoor, where many prisoners are classified as category A or B - prisoners serving sentences of at least four years, prisoners who have been sentenced for serious offences - many are dangerous individuals."

Judge Lowe said Gregory had 'manipulated and exploited' Drinkwater - but 'that does not amount to an excuse or justification for what you did.'

Detective Constable Shelly Reeve said: “Drinkwater abused her position of trust and entered into this relationship in full knowledge that it was inappropriate.

“We take offences of this nature incredibly seriously and work with the Prison Service to bring offenders to justice.”

Prisons Minister Rory Stewart said: “This is shocking. This kind of behaviour undermines a whole prison – it is dangerous. It threatens other, hard-working, dedicated staff and unfairly sullies their reputations too – I am delighted the court has taken strong action.”

Drinkwater was given a 10 month sentence for misconduct in public office, nine months for bringing the mobile phone into the jail, and 14 months for possession of cannabis with intent to supply.

The second two sentences were concurrent to each other, but consecutive to the 10 month sentence.

The drugs were ordered to be destroyed.