Vegas bound corrupt prison officer "deserved" jail term

By Michael Upton | 20/10/2017

Vegas bound corrupt prison officer 'deserved' jail term
Thomas Lee

A CORRUPT prison officer who supplied drugs to inmates to pay for a Las Vegas holiday deserved his tough jail term, judges have ruled.

“Gentle giant” Thomas Lee (30), worked at HMP Doncaster from about June last year.

The prison, like many others, “had a serious drugs problem”, Mrs Justice McGowan told London's Appeal Court on Wednesday.

A crackdown was triggered after four inmates were hospitalised in October 2016.

And, on November 8 last year, all staff were searched as they arrived for work.

Lee, of Doncaster Road, Thrybergh, attempted to enter a lavatory but it was locked. He was taken to one side and searched.

Cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, cannabis and other drugs were found, as well as eight mobile phones, seven SIM cards, memory cards and charging leads.

The drugs which had a street value of £2,000, but prosecutors said their value was likely to be multiplied “five-fold in prison”.

Lee revealed that he taken contraband into the jail on six previous occasions and he had done so to pay for a trip to Las Vegas.

He admitted possession of cocaine, heroin and cannabis with intent to supply, as well as conveying mobile phones into prison.

Lee also pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply other Class C and B drugs.

He was locked up for nine years at Sheffield Crown Court in February, but his lawyers argued that the sentence was far too tough.

They pointed to his previous good character and described him as a “gentle giant”.

Having started on the prison wing in early September, it was “general knowledge” that he was to get married in October in Las Vegas.

He was “very quickly corrupted as a consequence of his weak mind, his vulnerability and his susceptibility”, the court was told.

But Mrs Justice McGowan said: “This was purely for greed, it was done in order to finance a holiday.

“There were repeated occasions of offending over a comparatively short period of time during which Lee was employed in the prison service”.

It was a “striking breach of trust” and his jail term was “not manifestly excessive”, the judge concluded.

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