An ‘infatuated’ prison officer inundated a high-risk inmate with more than 1,500 text messages from a secret phone before their sordid relationship was finally uncovered.
Millie Kirk, 26, was this week jailed over her illicit relationship with notorious drugs baron John Anslow.
The 36-year-old is serving a 29 year sentence in maximum security prison at HMP Wakefield.
A court heard how the pair indulged in a six month romantic relationship in which Kirk, described as “infatuated”, sent him hundreds of messages from a secret burner phone.
While the affair was ongoing the prison officer travelled to Birmingham to enjoy a night out drinking and taking drugs with the Midlands mobster’s ex-wife.
The court heard Kirk committed the offending while she was involved in a same-sex relationship with a woman who was abroad serving in the armed forces.
She was finally caught out in June last year after she smuggled cupcakes and cards into the maximum security jail to give Anslow for his birthday.
Appearing in the dock at Leeds Crown Court this week Kirk, from Barnsley, was jailed for eight months after pleading guilty to misconduct in a public office.
George Hazel-Owram, prosecuting, said Kirk and Anslow were involved in a romantic relationship between January and June of last year while she was a serving officer.
Anslow, who was once Britain’s most wanted man, is serving a prison sentence of more than 29 years for conspiracy to supply class A drugs and conspiracy to escape.
Mr Hazel-Owram said the prison service received information about the affair and began an internal investigation in April last year.
A senior officer began to monitor CCTV footage on the wing where Anslow was being held, which requires staff to carry out hourly checks on high-risk prisoners like Anslow.
Mr Hazel-Owram said most officers would speak to the inmate for around 45 seconds but Kirk would often chat for more than five minutes when she went to check on him.
The prosecutor said: “It was obvious they were becoming too close.”
The affair was exposed on Anslow’s birthday, June 22, after she brought two birthday cards and 12 cupcakes into the prison to give to him.
An officer caught Anslow with the gifts in a store room as the inmate was carrying out his cleaning duties on the wing.
Anslow tried to hide the cupcakes under a pillow case but admitted they were his when challenged by the officer.
One of the birthday cards contained a message which read “Happy birthday. I love you so much. Here’s to many more together.”
A message in the other card stated: “Happy birthday, love M’.
CCTV camera checks showed Kirk going into the store room hours earlier carrying a rucksack.
The prison governor was informed and Kirk was interviewed.
She immediately admitted responsibility for taking the items into the jail and went on to admit she had formed an inappropriate non-physical relationship with Anslow.
She insisted that she had never kissed him and nothing sexual had ever taken place between them.
Kirk then confessed to having mobile phone contact with the prisoner and using a burner phone to communicate with him.
Admitting she had travelled to Birmingham to meet Anslow’s ex-wife, Kirk described the woman as a “mother figure” to her.
The burner phone was retrieved from Kirk’s car and a mobile phone was found hidden inside a block of butter in Anslow’s cell.
Mr Hazel-Owram said Kirk’s phone was analysed and showed that she had contacted Anslow on 19 occasions and sent him 1,641 texts between April and June 2019.
Anslow’s phone was used to make 19 calls to send 1,678 text messages to Kirk.
Messages stated “I’d love to take your clothes off” and “You have no idea how much I dream about you”.
Another message ended with: “sex, sex, sex xxx”
Mark McKone, mitigating, said: “It was clearly a confused relationship.
“Miss Kirk has for many years been in a same sex relationship with a woman called Megan.
“The relationship had difficulties from time to time because Megan was in the army and served abroad and there was the stress of her potentially being harmed.
“At the time this relationship was developing her relationship with Megan was struggling.
“That created an element of confusion and made Miss Kirk perhaps susceptible to the attention she was receiving from the prisoner.”
Mr McKone said Kirk had lost her career in the prison service and was currently working in a warehouse.
Describing the offending, Mr McKone said: “The messages were part and parcel of this quasi-romantic relationship that had developed.
“This was not a relationship which became sexual.”
Judge Christopher Batty said the offending was so serious that only an immediate prison sentence could be imposed.
He said: “You put yourself in a position where you were open to corruption.
“The sheer quantity of those communications show the prolonged and sustained extent of your conduct.
“Your conduct undermined the integrity of the prison regime in HMP Wakefield.
“I accept that you did it because you became infatuated.
“It is conduct which cannot be ignored.”
Drugs baron John Anslow became infamous in 2012 after being the first category A prisoner to escape custody in more than 17 years.
The underworld boss was sprung from a prison van in an armed ambush in January 2012 and went on the run.
After 439 days on the run, police tracked him to Northern Cyprus and he returned to the UK in March 2013 to be jailed.