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Last Updated: Monday, 26 January, 2004, 18:02 GMT
Jail chaplain quits over affair claim
HMP Garth
The pair are alleged to have met at HMP Garth
A Lancashire prison chaplain has quit in a row over claims that she had an affair with an inmate.

Rita Carroll has resigned from her role at HMP Garth amid claims she had a relationship with a prisoner who worked as a cleaner.

The inmate worked in the prison chapel where Mrs Carroll was a lay assistant chaplain.

Mrs Carroll, formerly known as Rita Nightingale, had served three years of a 20 year sentence in a Thai prison for heroin smuggling.

She was jailed in 1977 and became the first heroin smuggler to receive a royal pardon in Thailand.

Prison Christian Fellowship

On Monday, a spokesman for the prison said: "The assistant chaplain resigned from HMP Garth in October following allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a prisoner.

"An internal investigation is being conducted by the prison service."

Mrs Carroll, from Blackburn, became involved with the church after serving her prison sentence in Thailand.

She has written several books, including Free!, which tells the story of her time in the Bangkok jail.

When she was released she returned to England and joined the Prison Christian Fellowship.

Although Mrs Carroll was not ordained, she was awarded a licence by the Church of England to work as a lay prison chaplain.

A Church of England spokesman said: "The licence depended on her being a lay prison chaplain, but she has resigned so the licence is no longer valid."

HMP Garth at Leyland, near Preston, is a Category B prison for inmates who do not require the highest conditions of security.

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