Prison officer jailed over her affair with notorious drugs baron John Anslow at HMP Wakefield and sending him 1,000 text messages from secret burner phone

A prison officer has been jailed for conducting a romantic relationship with an infamous drugs baron serving a 29-year jail sentence at HMP Wakefield.

By Tony Gardner
Tuesday, 30th June 2020, 9:43 am
Updated Tuesday, 30th June 2020, 5:24 pm

Millie Kirk sent more than a 1,000 text messages to high-risk inmate John Anslow from a secret burner phone during their six-month affair.

Kirk, 26, was finally caught out after she smuggled cupcakes into the maximum security jail to give to him for his birthday.

During the affair Kirk travelled to Birmingham to enjoy a night out drinking and taking drugs with the Midlands mobster's ex-wife.

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Prison officer Millie Kirk sent notorious drugs baron John Anslow over 1,000 from a secret burner phone during a six-month romance at HMP Wakefield

Kirk committed the offending while she was involved in a same-sex relationship with a woman who was abroad serving in the armed forces.

Kirk, from Barnsley, was jailed for eight months at Leeds Crown court after pleading guilty to misconduct in a public office.

George Hazel-Owram, prosecuting, said Kirk and Anslow were involved in a romantic relationship between January and June of last year while she was a serving officer at the maximum security prison.

Anslow - who was once Britain's most wanted man - is serving a prison sentence of more than 29 years for conspiracy to supply class A drugs and conspiracy to escape.

Leeds Crown Court

The prosecutor said the prison service received information about the affair and began an internal investigation in April last year.

A senior officer began to monitor CCTV footage on the wing where Anslow was being held.

Prison staff are required to carry out hourly checks on Anslow's cell due to him being a high-risk prisoner.

Mr Hazel-Owram said most officers would speak to the inmate for around 45 seconds to check on his welfare.

Prison officer Millie Kirk smuggled birthday cards and cupcakes into HMP Wakefield to give to inmate John Anslow during a six-month affair.

Footage showed Kirk talking to Anslow for five or six minutes, sometimes longer, when she went to check on him.

The prosecutor said: "It was obvious they were becoming too close."

The affair was exposed on Anslow's birthday, June 22, after she brought two birthday cards and 12 cupcakes into the prison to give to him.

An officer caught Anslow with the gifts in a store room as the inmate was carrying out his cleaning duties on the wing.

Anslow tried to hide the cupcakes under a pillow case but admitted they were his when challenged by the officer.

One of the birthday cards contained a message which read "Happy birthday. I love you so much. Here's to many more together."

A message in the other card stated: "Happy birthday, love M'.

CCTV camera checks showed Kirk going into the store room hours earlier carrying a rucksack.

The prison governor was informed and Kirk was interviewed.

She immediately admitted responsibility for taking the cards and the cupcakes into the jail for Anslow.

The officer went on to admit that she had formed an inappropriate non-physical relationship with Anslow.

She insisted that she had never kissed him and nothing sexual had ever taken place between them.

Kirk then confessed to having mobile phone contact with the prisoner and using a burner phone to communicate with him.

The officer told the governor that she had travelled to Birmingham to meet Anslow's ex-wife.

She described the inmate's former partner as a "mother figure" and said they had been on a night out together and took illicit drugs.

The burner phone was retrieved from Kirk's car and a mobile phone was found hidden inside a block of butter in Anslow's cell.

Mr Hazel-Owram said Kirk's phone was analysed and showed that she had contacted Anslow on 19 occasions and sent him 1,641 texts between April and June 2019.

Anslow's phone was used to make 19 calls to send 1,678 text messages to Kirk.

Messages stated "I'd love to take your clothes off" and "You have no idea how much I dream about you."

Another message ended with: "sex, sex, sex xxx"

Mark McKone, mitigating, said Kirk did not taken the mobile phone or any other prohibited items such as drugs into the prison to give to Anslow.

He said: "It was clearly a confused relationship.

"Miss Kirk has for many years been in a same sex relationship with a woman called Megan.

"The relationship had difficulties from time to time because Megan was in the army and served abroad and there was the stress of her potentially being harmed.

"At the time this relationship was developing her relationship with Megan was struggling.

"That created an element of confusion and made Miss Kirk perhaps susceptible to the attention she was receiving from the prisoner."

Mr McKone said Kirk had lost her career in the prison service and was currently working in a warehouse.

He said Kirk hoped to be able to study to be a mental health nurse in the future.

Describing the offending, Mr McKone said: "The messages were part and parcel of this quasi-romantic relationship that had developed.

"This was not a relationship which became sexual."

Judge Christopher Batty said the offending was so serious that only an immediate prison sentence could be imposed.

He said: "You put yourself in a position where you were open to corruption.

"The sheer quantity of those communications show the prolonged and sustained extent of your conduct.

"Your conduct undermined the integrity of the prison regime in HMP Wakefield.

"I accept that you did it because you became infatuated.

"It is conduct which cannot be ignored."

Drugs baron John Anslow became infamous in 2012 after being the first category A prisoner to escape custody in more than 17 years.

The underworld boss was sprung from a prison van in an armed ambush in January 2012 whiled he was being taken from Hewell Prison in Redditch to Stafford Crown Court.

Anslow, then aged 35, went on the run after a gang of three masked men stopped the prison van, smashed its windows with sledgehammers and punched the driver.

Anslow had led a lavish lifestyle as head of a major drugs ring selling cocaine and cannabis across the West Midlands.

He managed to flee overseas in a breakout that made him Britain's most wanted man at the time.

It is believed he was smuggled out of the country in a metal freight box which was loaded onto a ship in Dover as cargo.

While still at large Anslow was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis and was sentenced to 22 years behind bars.

After 439 days on the run, police tracked him to Northern Cyprus and he returned to the UK in March 2013.

Anslow was also found guilty of escaping from custody, adding another seven years and two months to his original sentence.

Police said Anslow used drugs cash to fund a lavish lifestyle of fast cars and luxury holidays.

Between July 2010 and March 2011 he splashed out £24,000 on holidays to the Dominican Republic, St Lucia and Bangkok, which were paid for in cash.

He also owned several high-value cars and showered his partner with Rolex watches and diamond jewellery valued at £26,440.

The Wolverhampton Wanderers fan also spent more than £36,000 in sponsorship at the Molineux Stadium between 2008 and 2011.

Police also found £107,900 in cash hidden inside two safes at his home.