EXCLUSIVE: 'She would have been killed within a week.' Clinton County Sheriff says the 'Shawshank' escapees planned on murdering their 'lover' Joyce Mitchell, who is now on SUICIDE WATCH in prison Clinton County Sheriff David Favro told *********.com that the former prison worker's life 'was in danger absolutely' Referring to David Sweat and Richard Matt, he said: 'They abused her both physically and emotionally' Mitchell is segregated and under 24-hour watch by prison guards Officers are monitoring her for any 'distress or physical issues' It has also been revealed that the convicts may have worked out in the prison gym to reduce their body size They crawled through a 24-inch diameter steam pipe to freedom on June 6 On-the-run killers David Sweat and Richard Matt would have murdered prison employee Joyce Mitchell within a week of their escape, a top law enforcement official believes. Speaking exclusively to *********.com, Clinton County Sheriff David Favro said: 'Her life was in danger absolutely. 'These two inmates would have asked, "Would she phone her husband, would she phone her son?" They would probably have killed her within a week. 'They abused her both physically and emotionally and used her. They had got what they had set out for from her. 'Would they have existed as a three? I don't think so. They had set out a plan and I don't think it would have involved her for long had she gone along with it.' Scroll down for video http://i.***************/i/pix/2015/06/16/19/29A4FF3C00000578-0-image-m-51_1434480099256.jpg Joyce Mitchell, pictured at a court hearing on Monday, was abused both physically and emotionally by the two 'Shawshank' escapees, according to Clinton County Sheriff David Favro http://i.***************/i/pix/2015/06/16/19/29A1A8A300000578-0-image-m-55_1434480143941.jpg http://i.***************/i/pix/2015/06/16/19/29A1AC9900000578-0-image-a-56_1434480157268.jpg On-the-run killers David Sweat (left) and Richard Matt would have murdered Joyce Mitchell within a week of their escape, a top law enforcement official believes. The pair escaped 11 days ago http://i.***************/i/pix/2015/06/16/19/29A5BBEF00000578-0-image-a-57_1434480169257.jpg Sheriff David Favro, speaking exclusively to *********.com, thinks Mitchell is safer in jail than on the outside The experienced detective, speaking at the jail cells at Plattsburg where 51-year-old Mitchell is being detained, added: 'She would have been seen as a sign of weakness. 'She assisted them in escaping prison but she has escaped with her life. She should consider herself very fortunate. She truly is better off in a cell at this prison with everything going on. It is the best thing for her.' Sweat and Matt allegedly lured Mitchell into having sex with them and won her over emotionally, then they convinced her to help them flee the Clinton Correctional Facility and go with them. But their plan would have been to murder the grandmother and dispose of her body to prevent her from leading cops to them, according to senior officers. They have told *********.com that she would have been seen as 'a liability and baggage' and the ruthless convicts would have thought nothing of killing her to protect themselves. Mitchell is currently segregated and under 24-hour watch by prison guards, with officers assigned to watch her closely for any 'distress or physical issues'. Sources describe her as a 'wreck' - and fear she could harm herself. She was arrested after reportedly getting cold feet on the day of the escape and checking herself into hospital in the realization that her life was at risk at the hands of the cold-blooded killers. It has been alleged that Sweat and Matt first persuaded the prison seamstress to help them in October 2013 - and the escape plan was worked on until the day they broke out on June 6. An intricate blueprint was formulated by the convicts and Mitchell is said to have been sworn to secrecy - although she was only given sketchy details of the escape plan - and was asked to bring in basic tools, including protective eyewear and speed bag gloves.