A prison nurse who was locked up for having a relationship with a ‘manipulative’ inmate has been banned from treating patients for 12 months.
Elyse-May Hibbs, 25, was sentenced to six months behind bars last year after she admitted to having an inappropriate relationship with Harry Pullen, also 25, whilst working at HMP Parc in Bridgend, South Wales.
Hibbs was one of two alleged romances Pullen had with female jail staff while he served a five-year sentence for drug offences.
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The healthcare worker was found to have held “flirtatious” calls over the phone with the prisoner, and Instagram messages were exchanged between the pair.
A disciplinary hearing by the Nursing Midwifery Council handed Hibbs a 12 month suspension order, as they found her ‘fitness to practise’ was impaired by her conviction.
She claimed to have been “pressurised” into flirting with Pullen, who was put behind bars in 2019 following his role in a drugs gang flooding the streets of South Wales with cocaine and heroin.
The qualified health worker first met the prisoner while giving him medical treatment in jail before he reached out to 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.
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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.”
The prosecutor said the inmate’s mother and friend helped initiate contact with Hibbs after finding her on Instagram.
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He added: “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 pair exchanged messages on the social media app by contacting each other through an account held by the inmate's friend.
Hibbs vacated her role at HMP Parc in July 2021, before being arrested a week later and admitted to swapping messages with the inmate.
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Speaking to the police, she explained that she was “scared” to end the contact after he had previously threatened her.
Mr Cobbe said that the relationship was “never sexual”, adding: "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.
Recorder of Cardiff Tracey Lloyd-Clarke, told Hibbs: “You engaged in a 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.”
Hibbs was one of two prison workers in HMP Parc accused of having relationships with Pullen, alongside prison officer Ruth Shmylo who is set to face trial this September.
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