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Prisoner ‘had inappropriate relationships with 2 female jail staff’

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An inmate had “inappropriate relationships” with two different women who worked in the prison where he was serving time, a court heard.

Harri Pullen allegedly had flings with prison nurse Elyse Hibbs, 25, and prison officer Ruth Shmylo, also 25, while he was locked up inside.

Hibbs has already been jailed after admitting flirtatious phone calls with “manipulative” Pullen while he served his sentence.

Now Shmylo is facing a trial after denying misconduct in a public office over the alleged fling with convict Pullen, 25, while working at a category B prison.

Pullen’s identity as the Romeo convict was revealed today at a hearing at Cardiff Crown Court ahead of Shmylo’s trial set for September.

He was jailed for five years in 2019 over his role in a drugs gang flooding the streets of South Wales with cocaine and heroin.

He spent time in HMP Parc before being transferred to HMP Manchester because of suspicions over his relationships with staff.

But Pullen was handed a further four years and nine months after a hidden phone was discovered up his backside when he was being transferred from HMP Manchester to Swansea Prison in preparation for his release.

A court heard “manipulative” Pullen came into contact with Hibbs and Shmylo while in custoday at HMP Parc in Bridgend, South Wales.

Qualified health worker Hibbs met the prisoner while giving him medical treatment in her jail and he contacted her on Instagram.

Prosecutor Matthew Cobbe said jail chiefs suspected the inmate was involved in an inappropriate relationship at the prison so transferred him to HMP Manchester.

But investigators then found Hibbs’ phone number on his approved calls list for inmates.

Mr Cobbe said: “Having been moved the inmate’s calls were monitored in HMP Manchester and it was quite plain the relationship with this defendant had was being nurtured by the inmate.

“He contacted the defendant very many times and the bulk of it occurred when she was employed at HMP Parc.”

Mr Cobbe said the inmate used his mother and a friend to initiate contact with Hibbs after he searched for her on Instagram.

He said: “The calls between them were flirtatious. They talk about the prison, staff within the prison, he tells her that he loves her and she tells him he doesn’t know her to love her.

“He tells her that he loves her and she tells him that she loves him too. The calls included references to the defendant’s existing partner and the inmate continuously suggested he would replace him and be in a relationship with her.”

Cardiff Crown Court heard the two swapped messages on Instagram by contacting each other through an account held by the inmate’s friend.

Hibbs quit her post at HMP Parc in July 2021 and was arrested a week later and admitted exchanging messages with the prisoner.

She told police she was scared to end the contact after he had previously threatened her.

Mr Cobbe said: “She explained that she and the inmate were never in a sexual relationship of any kind at all.

“She accepted she should have reported the matter but that she got in too deep and couldn’t get out.”

Hibbs, of Newbridge, Gwent, admitted misconduct in a public office.

Adam Sharp, defending Hibbs, said the prisoner was known within the system to be a “particularly manipulative individual”.

He said: “She was young, impressionable, inexperienced and vulnerable to the malign influence of the inmate who sought to exploit her.”

Mr Sharp said Hibbs had “dedicated a significant part of her adult life” to nursing but her conviction meant she would be banned from the profession.

Recorder of Cardiff Tracey Lloyd-Clarke, told Hibbs: “You knew what you were doing was wrong, you had training but nevertheless you went ahead and formed what was clearly an emotional relationship with this prisoner.

“Although you were young you held a position of responsibility as a nurse and as a member of prison staff. You failed to report initial contact despite advice from a colleague and training you had had.

“You engaged in flirtatious relationship initially, you failed to report the on-going contact and you failed to report that this inmate had upon him and in custody an unlawful device.”

Shmylo will stand trial in September over an alleged affair with the same prisoner while she was employed as a custody officer at the 1,652-capacity HMP Parc Prison in Bridgend, Wales.

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