A PRISON officer has appeared at court accused of having an inappropriate relationship with an inmate under her supervision.

Stephanie Smithwaite, of Morris Crescent, Boldon Colliery, appeared at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, December 12, charged with two counts of being the holder of a public office wilfully misconducting herself.

Emma Cruickshank, prosecuting, said the offences date back to between June 1, 2018 and December 14, 2018 when Mrs Smithwaite worked as a prison officer at HMP Frankland, in Durham.

The 40-year-old entered no pleas during the hearing.

District Judge Helen Cousins, sitting at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court, sent the case to Durham Crown Court when Mrs Smurthwaite will appear on Friday, January 10.