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CLOSE CALL: Hemel Hempstead prison officer avoids jail after forming relationship with inmate

 Published on: 6th December 2022   |   By: News Bulletin   |   Category: Uncategorized

A prison officer, who chatted to an inmate on his illegal phone and visited him on his release, escaped going to prison herself.

Claudia Kachouh was sentenced to 12 months’ jail suspended for 18 months. She must carry out 200 hours’ unpaid work.

She had called Tasharn Martin forty times while he was in his cell in a month-long period while he rang her 74 times.

Martin was sentenced to 8 months suspended for 18 months and must also complete 200 hours unpaid work. They must both pay £260 costs.

Prosecutor Sophie Stannard told St Albans Crown Court that Martin, now 27, arrived on Dixon Wing at the Mount in January 2018 after being sentenced to 42 months for possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply.

On November 13, 2019, a mobile was seized from Martin which led to Kachouh being questioned. She admitted she had become too close to a prisoner.

She had also given Martin favourable treatment by leaving his cell door unlocked when he should have been locked in.

Martin was released from prison on November 26, 2019.

The next day Kachouh phoned in sick.

Mobile phone data showed she had visited him in Croydon on November 27, 28 and 30, 12 December and January 27. This was in breach of professional prison standards.

She had also spoken to another prisoner 15 times on his illegal mobile.

Kachouh of Hemel Hempstead pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office.

Martin of Morland Road, Croydon pleaded guilty to making unauthorised calls and having a mobile phone without authority. He told investigators he had bought the phone for £500 and used it to contact family and friends.

For Kachouh, Jennifer Dannhauser said she had only been a prison officer since the previous year and had a number of family members in the police force and in the prison service.

Ms Dannhauser said at the time Kachouh had been the victim of domestic violence and had suffered inappropriate touching by a prison manager, who had been sacked. She said there was no suggestion she had brought the phones in.

Emma Stuart-Smith, for Martin, asked for a suspended sentence saying he had obtained the phone to contact his mother who had been diagnosed with cancer.

 She said he had a new relationship, was coaching football and had not committed any further offences since his released three years ago.

Judge Lana Wood told Kachouh: “You did not take phones into the prison, but you knew they had those phones and had inappropriate relationships.”

She said she was young at the time and was going through a vulnerable period in her life. 

The judge said Martin had not been reconvicted since the offence.

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