by Jo Ellen Nott
A former guard and a former nurse at a prison in the United Kingdom – who both fell for “flirty” calls on a contraband cellphone from a “Romeo inmate,” British tabloids proclaimed – are now paying for their involvement with the convicted drug dealer. The one-time nurse is serving a six-month sentence handed down on October 18, 2022, while the former guard is awaiting trial set for September 2023.
The prisoner, Harri Jay Pullen, 25, began serving a five-year sentence in 2019 for his part in a gang distributing cocaine and heroin in South Wales. Pullen who is from Newport, was first sent to HMP Parc, where he met the nurse, Elyse Hibbs, 25, and guard Ruth Shmylo, 25. When prison officials suspected he was engaging in romantic relationships with staff, Pullen was transferred to HMP Manchester. It was during transfer that officials found a small cellphone tucked up in his anal cavity and discovered that he had used it to carry on the forbidden relationships with the two women.
Before he was transferred, Pullen had acquired the nickname “Romeo” for his manipulative ways with female staff. Hibbs, who was 23 at the time, met the prisoner while treating him at HMP Parc. Following that encounter, Pullen coerced his mother and a friend to establish a link between him and the attractive brunette nurse on Instagram.
After months of texting, Pullen was saying he loved Hibbs and that he would replace her existing partner to be in relationship with her. Hibbs went on sick leave at the beginning of June 2021 and resigned on July 6 that year. A week later, on July 13, 2021, she was arrested and lost her credentials on the Nursing and Midwifery Council. On October 25, 2022, she was sentenced to six months in prison by Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke, who said that Hibbs knew what she was doing and that her offense warranted immediate custody despite her clear remorse.
Shmylo also succumbed to Pullen’s charm while she was a guard at the 1,652-bed prison in Bridgend. As reported in the Daily Star, the charges against her said that “[w]hile acting as a public officer, namely a prison custody officer, [you] willfully and without reasonable excuse or justification misconducted yourself in a way which amounted to an abuse of the public’s trust in the office holder by engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a prisoner.” Shmylo, who “strongly denies” the charges against her for the alleged romance, is out on unconditional bail until trial.
Pullen, owner of a lengthy rap sheet as well as an OCD diagnosis, is serving an additional nine months in a prison in Swansea for the contraband phone found in his anus, which he admitted planning to sell to another prisoner for £3,000 (about $3,613). On top of that, he got another four years for driving without permission and selling drugs during a brief stint free on parole. That release, on February 4, 2022, came after serving just about half of his original drug-dealing sentence.
Sources: BBC, Daily Star, Mirror, Wales Online
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