Prison officer duped into sham romance put behind bars for four years (2024)

A female prison officer who was duped into a sham romance with a convicted rapist and smuggled drugs into jail has been put behind bars for four years.

Hannah Angwaba broke down into tears as she was handed the sentence after trying to smuggle cocaine, cannabis,miniature mobile phones, and tobacco hidden in the braids of her hairas she arrived for a shift at HMP Forest Bank, Salford.

The 30-year-old had been 'exploited'by Anton McPherson, 34, who 'love bombed' her in a bid to win her affection shortly after she started working at the prison.

The self-confessed 'pretty boy' worked with cellmate Julius Marshall, 33, to devise a plan for Angwaba to bring in several packages of contraband.

Now the trio face lengthy jail time after being sentenced atManchester's Minshull Street Crown Court.

Hannah Angwaba (pictured), a female prison officer who was duped into a sham romance with a convicted rapist and smuggled drugs into jail, has been put behind bars for four years

The 30-year-old had been 'exploited' by Anton McPherson (pictured), 34, who 'love bombed' her in a bid to win her affection shortly after she started at working at the prison

When Angwaba started working at HMP Forest Bank in December 2019, McPherson and Marshall shared a cell.

The prison officer then started what she believed to be a relationship with McPherson, who had a girlfriend on the outside, while also texting Marshall from Christmas Eve that year.

She was then subject to intelligence reports within the prison due to her over-familiarity with the two inmates and the pair's cell was searched in January 2020.

Officers found a Zanco-style small mobile phone, a USB charger piece, a number of SIM cards wrapped in cling film, and a piece of paper with Angwaba's bank details on it.

A professional standards meeting was scheduled for January 22, 2020, and Angwaba was pulled aside by the senior anti-corruption officer at the prison as she arrived for her shift that day.

During the meeting the prison officer realised the 'game was up' and admittedshe had a package of contraband in her hair, the court was told.

It contained two small mobile phones, a charging cable, two SIM cards, two USB memory sticks, two cling-film wraps of cocaine, five cling-film wraps of cannabis, two cling-film wraps of tobacco, and cigarette papers.

Drugs have a value of around ten times higher in prison than on the street, Edward Steele, prosecuting, said.

Angwaba tried to smuggle cocaine, cannabis, miniature mobile phones, and tobacco hidden in the braids of her hair as she arrived for a shift at HMP Forest Bank, Salford (pictured)

There were 27.76 grams of cocaine with a purity of 79 per cent and an estimated value inside of between £22,208 and £27,760.There was a total of 77 grams of cannabis with an estimated prison value of £7,700.

Angwaba also admitted bringing in three previous packages, saying she had been paid nothing for the first two but £300 for the third. She said she was due to be paid £500 for the package that was discovered.

Mr Steele said text messages during the early part of the conspiracy show 'a degree of protest from Hannah Angwaba' and a mission from Anton McPherson to go 'from a quasi-relationship into using her as a vehicle to bring contraband into prison.'

The prison officer then discovered McPhersonwas in a relationship with a woman outside the prison at which pointMarshall took on the role of 'bringing her back from the brink' of dropping out of the January 22 smuggle.

One message to her from him read: 'It's not just his, it's mine as well.' Whilst Angwaba said in interview that Marshall had told her over the phone, 'If you're not gonna do it for Anton do it for me.'

'In short, Anton McPherson and Julius Marshall were the masterminds of the plan, working in conjunction with one another from their shared cell,' Mr Steele said.

'Hannah Angwaba was the naïve, so she thought 'loved up', new prison officer, manipulated by the two prison inmates to do their dirty work and bring drugs into prison.' The judge said there was an 'element of love-bombing' from McPherson.

The prison officer denied that any of the previous packages contained drugs and said she did not know about the drugs in the package that was seized.

She and Marshall pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to supply class A and class B drugs but were found guilty after a trial.

Angwaba admitted misconduct in public office, conveying a list B article (mobile phones) and a list C article (tobacco) into prison. Marshall admitted unauthorised possession of a mobile phone.

McPherson, now of HMP Parkhurst on the Isle of Wight, admitted conspiracy to supply class A and class B drugs, and unauthorised possession of a mobile phone.

Andrew Scott, defending Angwaba, said she had had a 'traumatic upbringing' and had now been diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety, which 'will have a trigger which has led to the commission of these offences.'

He said she was otherwise an 'intelligent, industrious, and ambitious young woman.' 'I invite your honour to pass a sentence which will offer Miss Angwaba a glimmer of light in what will be a long and dark tunnel,' he added.

Aubrey Sampson, representing McPherson, said his client had now been moved to HMP Parkhurst on the Isle of Wight and had only been able to see his family once in three years due to the geographical distances. Marshall's barrister, Stuart Duke, said there should be a 'clear distinction' between his client's role and that of McPherson.

'She still went ahead with bringing in the drugs'

Angwaba, of Leng Road, Newton Heath, shed tears and sat with her head in her hands as she was handed a four-and-a-half-year jail sentence.

Judge Jonathan Seely, said: 'This is case is very seriously aggravated by the fact she took part in the conspiracy as a prison officer. It represents a significant breach of trust.

'There must be deterrent sentences for offending of this sort by prison officers. It strikes at the very heart of the criminal justice system. From my assessment of the evidence, Hannah Angwaba was exploited by two male defendants, seasoned criminals both of them.

'She was exploited as a young woman with her own vulnerabilities, a very inexperienced prison officer. She was romantically exploited. That was a morally repugnant thing to do. But this is not a court of morals.

'She was duped but as far as she's concerned, things are not that straightforward. The evidence is that the night before January 22 it became clear the purported romance with McPherson was a sham she still went ahead with bringing in the drugs.

Angwaba, McPherson and accomplice Julius Marshall nowface lengthy jail time after being sentenced at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court (pictured)

'Perhaps pressured and persuaded by Marshall. If she wasn't doing it for love, she was doing it for money as she was receiving payment for bringing in the drugs.'

He added: 'Yes it's right Mr McPherson adopted the role of sham lover, and Marshall didn't, but it makes little difference to the real issue of this case which is bringing into one of His Majesty's prisons high-value drugs.'

McPherson, of no fixed abode, was given a five-year term which will run consecutively to his current sentence. Whilst Marshall, of Edgemoor Road, Crosby in Liverpool, who has a previous conviction for possession with intent to supply heroin, was handed a seven-year sentence.

Prison officer duped into sham romance put behind bars for four years (2024)
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