A Zimbabwean nurse in the United Kingdom called a convicted murderer her ‘superman’ in intimate letters found in his cell, a tribunal heard.
Tendai Zinyemba allegedly conducted an inappropriate relationship with the inmate ten years her junior at maximum security HMP Long Lartin in Wychavon, Worcestershir.
Zinyemba ended her intimate letters to the killer with ‘mwahh’ like the sound of a passionate kiss, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.
The Zimbabwean nurse looked ‘flustered and embarrassed’ when she was found by a colleague giggling with the convict in a room at the category A men’s prison, it was said.
Mental health team leader Kate Bishop told the hearing she noticed a prison guard outside a room on the medical wing on November 27, 2013.
She looked through the window and saw Zinyemba and the prisoner sat close to one another.
‘The prison guard said that they had been in there for quite a long period of time and they had been giggling and laughing,’ said Ms Bishop.
‘It all seemed very odd.’
Ms Bishop told the hearing that she went upstairs to check what was happening as it was meant to be the time of the day when inmates received medication.
She went back down and knocked on the door.
‘They were in extremely close proximity and leaning into each other,’ said Ms Bishop.
‘They were in each other’s personal space.
‘When I knocked on the door and entered Tendai jumped out of her skin like a cat on a hot tin roof.
‘She was giggling, behaving different, very childlike.’
Ms Bishop told the hearing Zinyemba had not told anyone where she was going and did not document the meeting.
She also said there was no documentation for other meetings between Zinyemba and the prisoner.
Ms Bishop told the hearing: ‘I did not see any kissing but boundaries had been crossed.
‘If you are with someone you are intimate with, they were that close.
‘It is different, it is personal space.
‘It was different from a nurse and a patient.’
Ms Bishop told the hearing the prisoner was 10 years younger than Zinyemba.
He had been referred to the mental health team as he was vulnerable but the prison psychiatrist saw no issues with him.
It was recommended he was discharged from the mental health team but Zinyemba allegedly kept him as her patient with no clinical reason.
Zinyemba had claimed that she was still seeing the inmate as he was struggling to communicate due to the language barrier.
Ms Bishop said Zinyemba was from the same region of Africa as the prisoner, but there were no concerns over his communication.
‘Tendai took over his referral, she did not start with him but somehow took over his case,’ said Ms Bishop.
‘Her notes did not reflect his care plan.’
After the incident in the side room it became clear that Zinyemba was using the room without a prison guard present, Ms Bishop said.
‘I could not say it was sexual but it was definitely inappropriate,’ said Ms Bishop.
Following the reporting of the incident and investigation found a number of letters in the prisoners cell, the hearing was told.
‘I was in the office one day and Tendai came in and got some envelopes but I didn’t think much of it,’ said Ms Bishop.
‘Then the letters found were in envelopes very similar to the ones we use.’
Phillip Law, for the NMC, read extracts from the letters allegedly penned by Tendai in which she tells the killer:
‘I got you in my life, I love you.
‘As for me and the outside world, all I can say is that I am keeping this girl sweet for you.
‘You chase away my nightmares with your loving and that day will come.
‘I am missing you and that is what hurts the most baby.
‘Can I just say I don’t want you to keep away from me nah…’
Asked how she knew the letters were from Zinyemba, Ms Bishop said she recognised the handwriting.
‘She is the only staff member that would dot her i’s using a circle,’ said Ms Bishop.
‘The letters were also signed of with ‘mwahh’ at the end, like a kiss.’
Zinyemba would often write ‘mwahh’ on a white board used by the nurses, the hearing was told.
Panel chair Richard Davies asked Ms Bishop if she had read the letters.
‘I know that it said something about him being her superman but I didn’t want to know anymore,’ said Ms Bishop.
‘But it was her handwriting 100%.’
Ms Bishop said: ‘I had concerns that she cherry picked her work load and I believe she was the driving force behind the relationship.
‘I had a suspicion that something was happening because it felt wrong.’
‘This was a growing suspicion that pointed to one thing.’
Ms Bishop had interviewed Zinyemba for the position before she took time off on maternity leave.
She said Zinyemba was like a different person when she returned and there was a change in her character.
Ms Bishop insisted she had no personal issue with Zinyemba and no score to settle.
She said that the prisoner was serving a life sentence for murder, which she thought was for a minimum of 15 years.
Zinyemba, who is present at the hearing, denies she had an inappropriate relationship with the prisoner and denies that the letters were sent by her.
The hearing continues. Courtnewsuk.co.uk