A female prison guard penned secret love letters to a high risk inmate describing how she was falling for him and would smuggle in contraband if she knew how.
Ruby Talaisaina Burgess, 33, from Miller, pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in an intimate relationship with an inmate at Blacktown Local Court on Monday.
The court heard Burgess formed a relationship with John Hytongue, 37, in December last year while she was employed at Parklea Correctional Centre, in Sydney’s north west.
Ruby Talaisaina Burgess (pictured), 33, from Miller, had an three-month intimate relationship with John Hytongue, 37, at Parklea Prison from December 2019 until February this year
Three months later, Corrective Services Investigators raided Hytongue’s cell and discovered a letter intended for Burgess after being tipped off about the affair.
A subsequent scan of CCTV footage uncovered private encounters the pair had inside the prison, while a second search on Burgess’ car unearthed more letters detailing their relationship.
She has been placed on a Conditional Release Order with conviction and a good behaviour bond for 12 months.
In notes found on Burgess, she confronted Hytongue over his motive for their relationship after he asked the correctional officer to sneak cigarettes into the jail.
‘So in other word (sic), you were using me?’ Burgess wrote, the Daily Telegraph reports.
‘As much as I want to, I wouldn’t know how.’
Burgess pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in an relationship with an inmate on Monday and was placed on a Conditional Release Order with conviction and a good behaviour bond for 12 months. She is pictured at a previous hearing
He replied: ‘If your [sic] feeling used, your [sic] wrong. Please don’t think that. I’m a, well use [sic] to be, a heavy smoker. I couldn’t help to (sic) cross my mind XOXO. Refill your panties’.
Security footage showed Burgess and Hytongue spending just over a minute alone in a store room without surveillance, and the guard speaking to the maximum-security prisoner through his cell.
Burgess told the court she regretted her behaviour and was experiencing low-self esteem at the time after coming out of an unhealthy relationship.
In response to the defence’s argument, Magistrate Fiona McCarron accepted their was no evidence the relationship had been sexual.
The prosecution said Burgess’s actions, irrespective of the extent of the relationship, placed other security officers and prisoners at risk.
Officers from the Corrective Services Investigation Unit discovered letters between Burgess and Hytongue. Pictured: Parklea Correctional Centre