A prison worker who had a personal relationship with a notorious lifer and let him stay at her home overnight when he went on the run has been jailed for ten months.
Angela Pauley, 48, admitted having an inappropriate relationship with dangerous inmate Brian McBride, 54. The convicted sex offender was found in her car after spending two days at large.
The pair had previously met up in secret during a period of overnight leave granted to McBride, and used the false names ‘Eric and Maggie’ to hide their contact together, a court heard.
Analysis of Pauley’s internet history revealed she had searched for reports of his escape and looked up ‘cottage’ accomodation for two people.
McBride, who has spent over two decades behind bars, achieved notoriety in 2012 after a prison nurse was jailed for having sex with him while he was serving his life sentence at high security Wakefield Prison.
By 2019 McBride, who was given his life sentence in 1997, was an inmate at the lower category North Sea Camp open prison, near Boston, Lincs.
McBride was on his regular work placement at the Centenary Methodist Church in Boston when he went missing on June 25, 2019.
His disappearance sparked a manhunt from Lincolnshire Police and McBride spent two days at large before officers found him over 35 miles away in a car being driven by Pauley in the Lincolnshire seaside resort of Mablethorpe.
Pauley, from Skegness, Lincolnshire, was at the time working as an Operational Support Grade officer at North Sea Camp. She pleaded guilty to a charge of misconduct in public office.
Although Pauley’s role was not as senior as that of a prison officer, it still included significant responsibilities such as checking prisoner’s mail and carrying out searches, Lincoln Crown Court heard.
Richard Thatcher, prosecuting, said Pauley’s job meant her contact with McBride should have been limited.
“Investigations after his escape painted a different picture,” Mr Thatcher told the court.
Against prison rules, Pauley used her own personal mobile phone to keep in regular contact with McBride on his legitimate prison phone and three illicit SIM cards which he used in an illegally held handset.
“It was a personal relationship,” explained Mr Thatcher.
“How far it actually went may be difficult to discern. Whether it was eventually a sexual relationship is not clear. They were certainly extremely close.”
All but three of the messages between Pauley and McBride were deleted, Mr Thatcher said.
But those that remained showed they were using the false names of ‘Eric and Maggie’ to cover their tracks.
Pauley also logged McBride as ‘The man with a van.’
Mr Thatcher said the contact between them began as soon as McBride got his legitimate prison phone on March 1, 2019.
“The voice calls by phone between Angela Pauley and Brian McBride were in excess of six hours and ten minutes,” Mr Thatcher added.
“Quite what they were talking about is not clear. We don’t have that record.”
However, Mr Thatcher said it was known that Pauley had a 15 minute telephone conversation with McBride on the morning he went missing from his six day a week work placement at the Centenary Methodist Church in Boston.
“He disappeared within an hour,” Mr Thatcher added.
At the same time prison officers were on their way to collect McBride and return him to closed conditions at Lincoln Prison after a review meeting that morning was told of concerns about his contact with two vulnerable women at the church.
Cell site evidence also showed that Pauley had travelled over 40 miles to Scunthorpe a few days before the escape when McBride was granted four days overnight leave at a hostel in the Lincolnshire town.
“By June 26 (2019) Brian McBride had taken a taxi to Skegness where Angela Pauley lived,” Mr Thatcher said.
“On the morning of June 27 he was travelling as a front seat passenger in a car being driven by Angela Pauley.
“During her interview Pauley said McBride ‘turned up on her doorstep without warning.’
“It is maybe worth asking how he knew her address.
“She explained that she panicked and locked him in her garage overnight.”
Pauley denied having a sexual relationship with McBride and gave a number of reasons for visiting him in Scunthorpe, including that they ‘met up’ by accident after she went to visit friends.
McBride was returned to jail after he was found in Pauley’s car and sentenced to an extra four months imprisonment after he admitted being unlawfully at large.
Mr Thatcher told the court there were similarities with another incident involving McBride and prison staff at one of Britain’s highest security jails, although on that occasion a sexual relationship was proven.
In 2012 a prison nurse was jailed for having an affair with McBride. Karen Cosford, then 47, had sex with McBride while he was serving his life sentence at Wakefield Prison.
She sent the prisoner intimate text messages on a smuggled mobile phone and even wrote him a love letter which was found hidden in a jar of sugar.
Cosford performed a sex act on McBride while she was on duty as two colleagues guarded his cell, the jury at Leeds Crown Court heard.
Giles Grant, mitigating for Pauley, argued there were a number of more aggravating features to the Cosford case and said it was refuted that Pauley had a sexual relationship with McBride.
Mr Grant told the court Pauley had previously worked for the police and was of good character until her life was ‘turned upside down’ by a series of events during 2018.
This included her husband of 19 years leaving her, an addiction to painkillers caused by a previous work injury and caring for her parents.
Mr Grant said this meant Pauley was a particularly vulnerable target to a manipulative prisoner such as McBride.
Passing sentence Judge Catarina Sjolin Knight said McBride was clearly a “manipulative and dangerous” prisoner whose actions had led to a number of convictions within the prison system.
But the judge told Pauley her offending struck at the heart of the prison system and a jail sentence could not be avoided.
“By June 26 (2019) Brian McBride had taken a taxi to Skegness where you live.
“You say he turned up at your door without warning, but this man should not have known where you lived.”
The judge added that while it remained unclear how McBride was tipped off about his imminent move to closed conditions, it was clear that Pauley had been in contact with him shortly before he went missing.
“Whether or not your relationship was intimate or sexual is perhaps by the by, Judge Sjolin Knight told Pauley.
“You were excessively close to a prisoner.”
The judge added there no was evidence to support Pauley’s claims that she was driving McBride to a police station when they were caught together.
Earlier this month a second North Sea Camp employee, prison officer Richard Goodwin, 41, was cleared of “tipping off” McBride that he was about to be moved back to closed conditions on the day of his escape.
Prosecutors had alleged Goodwin, who lived on the same street as Pauley in Skegness, Lincs, had “forewarned” McBride after learning that he was shortly going to be transferred to Lincoln Prison.
But a jury at Lincoln Crown Court cleared Goodwin of misconduct in public office.
It was alleged that McBride had been tipped off by Goodwin after he was present at a Governor’s review meeting at which his status was discussed.
The prosecution claimed there were also 284 calls or attempted calls between Goodwin and McBride in the three and half months before his escape.
Mr Thatcher asked the jury: “To put it another way 13 and half hours of voice calls.
“What on earth were they talking about?”
But Chris Jeyes, defending Goodwin, told the court there was “no evidence at all” of the content of the conversations between the two men, and described the case as “purely circumstantial.”
Mr Jeyes added that witness accounts of the meeting where McBride’s status was spoken about varied widely on both the content and if indeed Goodwin was present, with poor records kept.
Goodwin chose not to give evidence at his trial, but the jury were told during his police interviews he maintained they engaged in a normal ‘prisoner-prison officer’ relationship.
The court heard a section of his police interviews were also lost after they failed to record.