Five sentenced over Lewes Prison phone and drug smuggling conspiracy

Five people have been sentenced after police disrupted a conspiracy to smuggle mobile phones and drugs into Lewes Prison.

Photos of (left to right) Wright, Johnson, Nolan and Newman
Photos of (left to right) Wright, Johnson, Nolan and Newman

The offences took place on various dates between September and November 2014, a police spokesperson has confirmed.

Three mobile phones were seized at the prison, the spokesperson said.

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Four were sentenced by Judge Paul Tain to varying terms at Lewes Crown Court on Friday, December 2, all having pleaded guilty at earlier hearings, the spokesperson said.

Matthew Johnson, 25, a roofer, of Stoney Lane, Shoreham, was sentenced to 13 months imprisonment for conspiracy to convey prohibited articles namely ‘spice’ and mobile phones into the prison on one occasion, the spokesperson said.

Nicholas Nolan, 64, a legal executive, of Lansdowne Road, Worthing, was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment for unlawful communication by mobile phone to a prisoner inside the prison, confirmed the spokesperson.

Jessica Osbourne, 21, a sales assistant, of Cedar Close, Lancing, was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, for conspiracy to convey a prohibited articles namely mobile phones and cannabis into prison on one occasion, said the spokesperson.

She was also given a Drug Treatment and Testing Order, and a curfew requirement, added the spokesperson.

Ann Wright, 45, of Wadhurst Close, Eastbourne, a nurse who worked at the prison, was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment for two offences of conspiracy to convey prohibited articles, namely mobile phones and ‘spice’ into the prison on two separate occasions, and misconduct in public office, confirmed the spokesperson.

Wright was a nurse employed by the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust at Eastbourne District Hospital, but also worked as a part-time nurse for the Sussex Partnership NHS Trust in the Healthcare Department at Lewes Prison, the spokesperson said.

A fifth defendant, Liam Newman, 30, a building labourer, of Buci Crescent, Shoreham, who had also previously pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 13 months imprisonment on Friday, December 9 for two offences of conspiracy to convey prohibited articles, namely mobile phones, the spokesperson said.

He was given no separate penalty having pleaded guilty to conspiracy to convey ‘spice’ into the prison, the spokesperson added.

The prosecutions, authorised by the CPS followed an investigation by the Sussex Police Serious Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), working in close co-operation with the prison service, according to the spokesperson.

On 10 October 2014 the cell of then remand prisoners, Newman and Johnson, was searched and found in a bucket was a sock containing 2 mobile phones a charger and batteries, the spokesperson said.

The phones were examined and found to hold the contact details of Ann Wright who had been working at the prison as a nurse for seven years, said the spokesperson.

Further investigation found that Ann Wright had formed a relationship with Newman and had arranged to smuggle two mobile phones and then-legal high ‘Spice’ into the prison with the help of Jess Osbourne, who was a friend of another prisoner and had bought one of the phones, said the spokesperson.

Messages also revealed that Nick Nolan, who was working as a legal representative for Wannops Solicitors in Worthing at the time, had visited Johnson whilst working in that capacity, said the spokesperson.

The day after this visit one of the prison phones and Nolan started communicating and made some 66 contacts over the next few weeks, the spokesperson said.

After the cell was searched Newman obtained another mobile phone and planned with Wright to take more phones into prison, according to the spokesperson.

In sentencing, Judge Tain said that any breach of the security systems within a prison was a serious matter and that, in particular, it ‘saddened and surprised him’ to see a person such Nolan involved, the spokesperson said.

Detective Constable Will Thomas of SOCU said; “The sentencings send out a clear message that we will work with our partners in the prison service and health services to help detect and deter such offending.”

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