A PRISON officer has died after contracting coronavirus just 18 months after starting work at the jail.

Rachael Yates, 33, had taken the role at Usk Prison in Monmouthshire after formerly working in the town's main post office.

She died on Tuesday after becoming ill with the virus.


Mark Fairhurst, from the Prison Officers' Association, said her death "highlights the risk that our brave prison officers face on a daily basis".

Ms Yates is the fourth member of prison staff in the UK to die after catching Covid-19.

A statement from Usk Town Council said: "We are saddened to learn of the news of the death of Rachael Yates from this dreadful corona-virus at the young age of 33 years.

"Many of you will remember Rachael and her cheery nature working along-side Jane behind the counter at the old Post Office in Bridge St (often in Victorian costume).

"Our thoughts are very much with her family at this very sad time. Many of you will have known Rachael but please respect her family's privacy at this difficult time for them."

Friends set up a fund-raising page in her memory - and already doubled the £1,200 target.

It said: "Rachael was a much loved daughter, friend and was loved by anyone who came into contact with her.

"She was taken away from us way too soon, she put up one hell of a fight but unfortunately lost her battle with the corona virus, we would like to raise some money so we can help give Rachael the send off she truly deserves."

Usk Prison is a Category C prison for vulnerable prisoners including many sex offenders. It has around 250 inmates

It is next to neighbouring jail Prescoed which is an open prison and also takes juveniles with a capacity of about 230.