Former GMP and prison officer jailed after secret relationship with murderer uncovered

Stephanie Heaps did not declare any links to criminals or criminal activity.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 8th July 2024

A former police and prison officer who was in an undisclosed relationship with a man serving a life sentence for murder has been jailed.

Stephanie Heaps, now known as Stephanie Ramsden, who was formerly a from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officer based in Bolton, did not declare that she was in an intimate relationship with Leon ‘Layton’ Ramsden – who is on a life sentence for murder – while she worked in her previous role at HMP Wymott in Leyland.

The 32-year-old Heaps had worked as a prison officer since March 2018, before pursuing a career in the police and joining GMP as a PC based in Bolton in July 2019.

During this time, she did not declare any links to criminals or criminal activity.

An investigation carried out by GMP’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) – which began in September 2019, under supervision of the Independent Office of Police Conduct – not only revealed Heaps’ levels of deceit in getting a job in the police service, but also found her links to an organised crime group associated to Ramsden, which was involved in money laundering, drug dealing, and a conspiracy to burgle an address in St Helens in November 2019.


After four months of what GMP called “tireless investigative work”, sufficient evidence to prove Heaps often visited Leon Ramsden in prison was uncovered, as it was found that she had been contacting him via illicit phones he had in his cell, and even shared sensitive police information with him.

Heaps was arrested in January 2020, and detectives then probed her with the mount of evidence that they had compiled, but according to GMP, she gave a ‘no comment’ interview.


Only weeks later, she resigned from the force.

GMP worked with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the prison service to produce a “compelling case” that led to Heaps pleading guilty in October 2022 to offences such as misconduct in a public office, as both a police officer and a prison officer, intentionally encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence after conducting telephone conversations with Ramsden through illegal mobile phones, and conspiracy to commit burglary.

Close to the entrance of H.M.P Wymott, where Heaps worked as a prison officer / Credit: Google Maps

She also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transfer, conceal, and convert criminal property regarding the money laundering of Ramsden’s drugs money.


At an accelerated misconduct hearing in October 2023, Heaps was barred from policing, and then, at Bolton Crown Court today last Thursday (4 July), she was sentenced to serve four years and three months behind bars.

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Ramsden, now of HMP Berwyn, was sentenced to five years and seven months, to run concurrently with his current sentence.

Featured Image – GMP