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Scandalous Welsh prison where 18 female staff were fired or quit over affairs with inmates is hit by staffing crisis


A prison that saw 18 female staff members get fired or resign over a number of sex scandals and affairs with inmates is now facing a staffing crisis triggered by the illicit hook-ups.

The women’s departures are said to have contributed to the shortage at HMP Berwyn – Britain’s largest male jail set on a sprawling industrial estate in Wrexham, north Wales.

In a new Independent Monitoring Boards report, staffing issues are highlighted as the ‘biggest destabilising factor’ at the jail, which is home to more than 2,100 medium-risk category ‘B’ and ‘C’ prisoners.

While the 18 cases have taken place since 2017, three female guards, Jennifer Gavan, 27, Ayshea Gunn, 27 and Emily Watson, 26, were all jailed in the last year for relationships with the inmates.

Watson arranged three trysts with her jailbird lover in his cell, having full intercourse with him during one meet up and performing a sex act on him on two other occasions – including on Christmas Day.

An officer, Emily Watson, 26, had intercourse with her jailbird lover and performed a sex act on him on two other occasions – one on Christmas day

Ayshea Gunn, 27, exchanged more than 1,200 phone calls ¿ including explicit video calls to Khuram Razaq's cell

In April 2020, Jennifer Gavan, began a relationship with offender Alex Coxon.

Ayshea Gunn, 27, (left) exchanged more than 1,200 phone calls — including explicit video calls and smuggled a pair of her knickers into her lover Khuram Razaq’s cell in her bra lining, while Jennifer Gavan (right), began a relationship with offender Alex Coxon

Now HMP Berwyn - Britain's largest male jail set on a sprawling industrial estate in Wrexham, north Wales - has said it has a staffing issue

Now HMP Berwyn – Britain’s largest male jail set on a sprawling industrial estate in Wrexham, north Wales – has said it has a staffing issue 

Gunn, made more than 1,200 phone calls – including explicit video calls – and smuggled a pair of underwear to her lover Khuram Razaq’s cell in her bra lining.

Both officers were jailed for 12 months in 2019 for misconduct in public office.

In April 2020, Gavan, began a relationship with offender Alex Coxon. She gave him a phone where she had made sexually explicit videos.

In December of last year, she was jailed for eight months after pleading guilty to misconduct.  

The most recent report, according to The Sun, looked at the period between March 2022 and February this year.

It said the jail had been gradually ‘opening up’ since Covid adding that ‘progress has been adversely affected by shortages of operational staff and probation officers’.

It also said that many staff were inexperienced and that the Prison Service was actively recruiting more members.

Prison officer, Ayshea Gunn with inmate Khuram Razaq in a cell at the prison

Prison officer, Ayshea Gunn with inmate Khuram Razaq in a cell at the prison 

Khuram Razaq, then 29, had previously been jailed for armed robbery and in 2015 had been given a subsequent 12-year sentence for conspiracy to rob

Khuram Razaq, then 29, had previously been jailed for armed robbery and in 2015 had been given a subsequent 12-year sentence for conspiracy to rob

As a response to the scandal, which was said to be a result of naïve, vulnerable and poorly educated staff, the prison oversaw 500 of its staff undertake corruption prevention training. 

Crime and security expert Chris Phillips told the Sun: ‘It beggars belief that so many female officers could be involved in relationships with inmates.

‘Where is the supervision of these officers?’

A spokesman for The Prison Officers Association told the paper: ‘At Berwyn, staff there for only three or four months are teaching new staff.

‘When you put young staff in and they mix with experienced prisoners — a lot of them wealthy — they are cultivating them.’



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