Prison officer admits misconduct over sexual relationship with inmate


A female prison officer and a convicted killer engaged in a sexual relationship while he served time for murder.

Kerianne Stephens, 26, admitted misconduct over her months-long tryst with inmate Louis Tate.

Tate was jailed for life in 2010 for mowing down father-of-three Garry Frater near his home in north London.

Stephens was working as a prison officer at HMP Swaleside – a Category B men’s prison on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent – where Tate was being held.

Appearing at Maidstone Crown Court on Thursday, she admitted having a sexual relationship with Tate between September 2018 and January 2019.

She pleaded guilty to a charge of misconduct in a judicial or public office.

Stephens, of Woodlands Road in Aylesford, appeared in court wearing a black dress with her ginger hair in a ponytail.

Kerianne Stephens
Kerianne Stephens

Tate, 34, also appeared in court to answer an allegation that he sent text messages and made calls from inside his single prison cell.

He sported a beard and wore a grey jumper and glasses as he stood in the dock and pleaded guilty to the charge of sending unauthorised transmissions from inside HMP Swaleside.

He was moved to another prison after their relationship was revealed.

Tate was jailed for life with a minimum term of 18 years in 2010 for murdering Mr Frater, 32, by hitting him with a Ford Fiesta in 2009.

Mr Frater was crushed under the vehicle after it accelerated back over him and deliberately drove over him again before driving off, the trial heard.

Mr Frater and friends had been followed as they took a minicab home from a club in Watford, Hertfordshire, 10 miles away.

Prosecutor Maria Karaiskos said the misconduct charge against Stephens was “very serious”.

Stephens was also charged with making unauthorised transmissions from inside a prison, to which she pleaded not guilty.

Ms Karaiskos informed the court this was not an acceptable plea to the Crown and the case is currently listed for trial next year.

Tate is due to be sentenced on October 19 at the same court.