Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

`Plagued' Jail Officer to Sue

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

`Plagued' Jail Officer to Sue

Article excerpt

Byline: By Hilary Clixby

A prison officer is set to sue the Crown Prosecution Service after an administrative blunder enabled an inmate to plague her with sinister hate mail.

Emma Potter's life was turned into a nightmare after her home address was disclosed in error to Antonia Cooper, who used the classified information to bombard her with violent and sexually explicit letters.

The letters - some written on prison notepaper - included threats to cut the officer up in front of her husband and set fire to her Wearside home while one warned she "may find herself floating down the river".

The campaign continued after Cooper - whose long list of previous convictions includes arson and harassment - was released from jail, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Ms Potter, who had worked for the prison service for four years, became so afraid for her safety she was forced to transfer her job. She also sold the home she loved in Sunderland and moved into rented accommodation.

Yesterday Cooper - who had also made Ms Potter's address known to fellow inmates - was jailed for three years after admitting offences of harassment and making a threat to kill.

The 21-year-old, from Selby, North Yorkshire, was also made the subject of an indefinite restraining order preventing her from having any contact directly or indirectly with Ms Potter, who was in court to see her jailed.

The court heard Ms Potter's ordeal began after Cooper assaulted her and broke her nose at Low Newton Young Offenders' Institution just outside Durham two years ago.

"As a result of that injury proceedings began in the Crown Court and during those proceedings disclosure was given to the defence and in error Ms Potter's address was not deleted from that disclosure," said Jane Waugh, prosecuting.

"That fell into the defendant's hands when she was still an inmate at Low Newton and she began writing that address on pieces of paper and handing them round and shouting out the address to other inmates. …

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