Married prison officer who slept with murderer of World War Two veteran jailed

11 October 2019, 19:07

Rachel Welburn was jailed for 12 months
Rachel Welburn was jailed for 12 months. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A female prison officer who had sex with an inmate in a cleaning cupboard whilst he served a life sentence has been jailed for 12 months.

Rachel Welburn, 39, had an 18-month relationship with Daniel Crompton once becoming his designated personal officer at Frankland Prison, County Durham.

Welburn served as a prison officer for 18 years and held a strong record before the offence at the Brasside jail, which houses some of the country's worst criminals.

Sentencing judge at Durham Crown Court, Christopher Prince, said jail was inevitable for a single charge of misconduct in a public office despite her record and the fact she mothers two children.

The judge said the friends and family of Crompton's victim, a Second World War veteran, would be "hugely upset" to hear the killer was having a sexual relationship whilst serving a life term.

Crompton and Welburn had sex in a cleaning cupboard, the court heard
Crompton and Welburn had sex in a cleaning cupboard, the court heard. Picture: Greater Manchester Police

He said: "The public do not expect prisoners, irrespective of the offences they have committed, to be engaging in sexual relationships when they should be serving their sentences."

Crompton was jailed for life in 2014 for the "cruel murder" of 87-year-old widower Frank Worsley in his own home, said the prosecution.

He beat the pensioner to death whilst searching his Bolton home for money for drugs and was sentenced to a minimum of 18 years in prison.

Robin Patton, prosecuting, said the attraction between Crompton and Welburn was "instantaneous" despite the officer recently returning from maternity leave when she was 36 and he was 27.

The court heard how the pair had sex in a cleaning cupboard on the wing of the prison as part of an intimate relationship in which they had professed their love for each other.

It also heard how she repeatedly told the killer she would leave her husband, also a prison officer, for him and would see Crompton upon his release.

Frank Worsley was beaten to death in his own home by Crompton
Frank Worsley was beaten to death in his own home by Crompton. Picture: Greater Manchester Police

Welburn also risked visiting Crompton at Full Sutton Prison, where she had told him to ask for a transfer to in order to minimise the risk of the pair being caught.

She frequently wrote to him and allowed him to call her from prison under a false name.

In "an act of revenge or spite" Crompton told a separate officer he had been having an affair with a female guard as their relationship began to cool by the summer of 2018, said Mr Patton.

When Welburn was challenged during an investigation, she claimed the killer threatened to hurt her husband and had blackmailed her to go along with the story.

However, she admitted her offence in court where her defence lawyer, Joanne Kidd, said her shame and regret were beyond measure.

She had a stressful, high-pressure job, was a diligent and caring colleague and returned to work after maternity leave while suffering from chronic back pain, the court heard.

Miss Kidd told the judge: "Mrs Welburn ... talks about seeing herself as through glass. She cannot explain why she behaved in this way."

The judge said he could not suspend the sentence but told Welburn, of Abbey Green, Spennymoor, that the 12-month sentence was shorter than it could have been on account of her young children.