A former prison nurse who helped her murderous lover escape custody has been eliminated.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) banned mental health nurse Jane Archer from practicing her audition last month.
Ms Archer, 55, was penalized for helping unrelated convicted murderer Stephen Archer escape from an open prison in Derbyshire in May 2019.
Archer, who had by this time spent some three decades in custody, was being held at HMP Sudbury and got into Ms Archer’s car waiting at the gates of the facility, where he was driven to her home in the Rotherham area.
Ms Archer was spared jail time for her role in the incident, handing only an 18-month jail term, suspended for 18 months last year.
Jane Archer, a former corrections officer formed a relationship with convicted murderer Stephen Archer, no relation, and helped him escape from prison before taking him home.
But now she has been banned from working as a nurse.
During the NMC proceedings, Ms. Archer said that she had no intention of helping Archer, referred to as Prisoner A in the documentation, to escape.
Instead, she claimed that she would regularly drive to the prison in her car and sit outside when he was “distressed”, believing that her presence “reassured” him.
Ms. Archer added that, at the time of the escape, she did not expect him to get into the vehicle.
Ms Archer then took the prisoner home, helped him visit shops and bought him a mobile phone before dropping him off in Dover, where he hid for several days.
Stephen Archer was jailed for life for murder and met Jane while serving at HMP Ranby
He then returned and picked it up, but the pair were stopped by police as they were traveling on the M6 towards Manchester and arrested.
Ms Archer had previously worked at Rampton Hospital, a high-security psychiatric hospital in Nottinghamshire, a fact which the NMC said meant she had knowledge of both the prison and mental health systems in the UK.
The NMC, which argued that Ms Archer should be referred to the independent fitness to practice committee, said this was an aggravating factor in the case as the prisoner in question was in custody for the “most serious crime of murder”.
They argued that Ms Archer’s conduct had raised “fundamental questions” about her professionalism and integrity, which could undermine public confidence in the nursing profession.
In her presentation, Ms. Archer said that she had never been a corrections officer, but rather a mental health nurse working with patients in the prison system, adding that Mr. Archer had never been her patient.
She added that she had no idea where Mr Archer went while he was in Dover until he called her and told her he needed to go back to prison.
Ms Archer also maintained that the plan was for her lover to turn himself in in Manchester in the hope that he would be imprisoned there again, closer to his family.
She told the NMC that she made the decision to help him with the plan, as the alternative was “allowing him to remain on the street where he could harm others.”
Archer was in custody at HMP Sudbury in 2019 prior to his escape.
Ms Archer added that she also returned to Dover to help him, as she knew he “had a temper” which had previously led him to murder someone and would rather put herself at risk than a member of the public.
He said he “wished it had never happened and would never do it again” but added that his patients had always been his top priority.
Ms Archer also said she loved her job and wished to continue working as a nurse at Alexandra Care Home, a chain of care homes in the south-west of England, where she worked before the NMC issued a reprieve during her case.
He added that “one mistake doesn’t make someone a bad person.”
However, the NMC argued that her act of assisting in the escape of a prisoner she knew to be dangerous could have harmed members of the public and had the potential to “seriously undermine the public’s confidence in nurses”.
The fitness to practice panel agreed: “The danger that inmate A posed to the public if he escaped from custody would have been clear to you, based on your experience of working in a secure facility and your knowledge of the nature of the crime of inmate A”.
Furthermore, the panel noted that although Ms. Archer had expressed regret for her actions, this seemed to be focused on their impact on her own employment, rather than on other people.
‘Accordingly, the panel is not satisfied that it has remedied its conduct. It is of the opinion that there is a real risk of repetition,’ they added.
Determining that Ms. Archer’s fitness to practice as a nurse was affected, they handed down the most serious sanction, for her to be removed from the nursing registry, effectively preventing her from working as a nurse.
“The panel considered that this order was necessary to highlight the importance of maintaining public confidence in the profession and to send a clear message to the public and the profession about the standard of behavior required of a registered nurse.”
During proceedings in September last year, Mr Archer was heard to have met Ms Archer, who was then a corrections officer, while serving at HMP Ranby.
The couple did not begin a relationship until after she left the prison service, but they were together for 14 years and, although they were not married, she changed her last name to his.
Ms. Archer has 28 days to appeal the NMC ruling.