A MARRIED former prison nurse went on the run in Europe with a prisoner who had made her pregnant, a court heard yesterday.

Sylvana Nottingham, 36, was given a one-month suspended jail sentence after admitting helping Andrew Osborne, 31, to abscond from Littlehey Prison, near Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

Nottingham was a nurse at Littlehey when she fell in love with Osborne - who was serving a seven-year sentence for the manslaughter of a teenager - during counselling sessions at the prison.

The pair went on the run shortly after Nottingham, of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, had miscarried when nine weeks pregnant with Osborne's child.

Osborne had been given temporary release while undergoing surgery on his ankle in Hinchingbrooke Hospital, near Huntingdon, and was not under guard, Peterborough Crown Court was told.

Instead of returning to prison after the operation in June last year, he absconded with Nottingham, who had withdrawn all her savings - #800 from the bank.

They travelled to France and Italy before being caught while hiding in a cupboard in a house in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, two months later.

The court heard that Nottingham, who had no previous convictions, had resigned her job at Littlehey at around the time Osborne went into hospital.

Earlier, prison officials had warned her to be careful because they thought she was becoming ''closer than was proper to Osborne''.

Lawyers estimated that she had become pregnant early last year when Osborne had served just over 12 months of his sentence.

''This is an exceptional and somewhat tragic case,'' Mr Gary Grant, counsel for Nottingham, told the court. ''(She) fell in love with the wrong man.''

He added: ''Were it not for that she would not have committed the offence which led her into the dock today. She would have continued her blameless and worthy life as a nurse.''

Nottingham, now a rail steward, married Osborne at a ceremony in Stocken Prison, Lincolnshire, last month. She had been separated but not divorced from her first husband, Clive, when the pair became involved.

Mr Nottingham, by whom she has an eight-year-old daughter, Holly, was in court to support his former wife.

The court heard that Osborne had not been prosecuted for absconding. But prison officials added 35 days to his sentence - of which he would serve 19 days when remission was taken into account.