A PRISON guard was warned he could face jail for helping a colleague conceal the fact she was having a relationship with a prisoner.

Sam Flower, 33, of Ty Gwyn Road, Varteg, Pontypool, yesterday admitted a public misconduct charge, at Cardiff Crown Court, after Abigail Matthews, 27, of Hanbury Road, Pontypool, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

Both were serving as officers at HM Usk Prison when the offences took place last May and where Matthews was having a relationship with convict Mark Rhodes.

Matthews has admitted that between May 1 and May 31, 2017, while acting as a prison officer, she wilfully misconducted herself in a way that amounted to a breach of public trust in an office holder by entering into a relationship with prisoner Mark Rhodes and by contacting his brother Christopher Rhodes by Facebook and by letter.

Flower accepted that between May 21 and May 31, last year, while acting as a prison officer, he wilfully misconducted himself in a manner that amounted to an abuse of public trust in an officer holder by asking Mark Rhodes to contact Christopher Rhodes and by using the prison’s office phone to “facilitate” communication with Christopher Rhodes and with Matthews to help her cover up her misconduct.

He was due to stand trial yesterday but his plea to the above charge was accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service through their barrister Sam Shepherd.

Flower’s lawyer, Christopher Lloyd Rees, told the court his client had been man of “hitherto good character” before admitting his guilt.

Judge Tom Crowther, QC, told the defendant he was adjourning the case so that a pre-sentence report could be prepared.

He also advised Flower that “all options were open”, including the prospect of a custodial term, and advised him to co-operate fully with the Probation Service.

The sentence date was set for Monday, April 9, when both defendants are due to appear.

Flower was granted conditional bail.