Two Metropolitan Police officers have pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office after sharing photos of the bodies of two murdered sisters on WhatsApp.
PC Deniz Jaffer 47, and PC Jamie Lewis, 33, appeared before Judge Mark Lucraft at the Old Bailey on Tuesday morning charged with committing misconduct in a public office between 7 June and 23 June last year.
Instead, they breached the cordon to take “inappropriate” and “unauthorised” photographs of the bodies, which were then shared on WhatsApp.
Jaffer took four photographs and Lewis took two, and one of the images sent to a female colleague had Lewis’s face superimposed on to it, it can now be reported.
The pair were later arrested as part of a criminal investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) watchdog.
At the hearing, they both admitted to the same charge, which stated that “without authorisation he entered a crime scene he had been assigned to protect, sending information about his attendance at the scene to members of the public via WhatsApp and taking photographs of the crime scene”.
The pair, attached to the Metropolitan Police‘s North East command unit, were both suspended from duty following their arrests on 22 June last year.
The sisters’ mother Mina Smallman, who has described the officers as “despicable”, sat in court for the hearing.
Last week, Satanist Danyal Hussein, 19, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 35 years for murdering Ms Henry and Ms Smallman.
During Hussein’s trial, Mrs Justice Whipple had banned reporting of details about the behaviour of Jaffer and Lewis, who were referred to only as Pc 1 and Pc 2.
The jury had heard that the victims had been celebrating Ms Henry’s birthday when they were viciously stabbed by Hussein, who then dragged their bodies into bushes and left them with their limbs entwined in a deliberate act to defile them in death.
Some 36 hours later, the sisters were found by Ms Smallman’s distraught boyfriend, Adam Stone, 35, after he became concerned when she failed to return home to their pet bearded dragon.
It can now be reported that Jaffer and Lewis were assigned to guard the deposition site on 8 June, arriving at 3.30am before being placed at the inner cordon closest to the bodies.
But a female colleague – identified only as Pc 3 – saw them walking backwards and forwards to talk to each other.
Pc 3 was then approached by the defendants, who told her that the victims’ bodies were inside a bush close to where one of them had been standing.
A while later, the female officer received a WhatsApp message from Jaffer – Pc 1 – containing four photos of the bodies.
One of the images had the face of Lewis – Pc 2 – superimposed on it.
Jurors were told that the images were subsequently circulated by both defendants.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said in a statement on Tuesday that Lewis also shared photographs he had taken at the crime scene – which did not show the victims – with a WhatsApp group of 40-plus officers called the A Team.
Meanwhile, Jaffer sent photos of the victims to three friends on WhatsApp.
The victims’ mother, Mina Smallman, condemned the officers, saying: “Our family’s grief was further compounded by the cordon officers who will now be known as Despicable 1 and 2 – any inner strength I had reserved had been torn away.”
At an earlier hearing at magistrates’ court, a lawyer for the two officers apologised on their behalf for the “pain that they have caused” and indicated that they would plead guilty to misconduct.
The IOPC also concluded a separate inquiry into how the Met handled calls from worried relatives and friends of missing Ms Smallman and Ms Henry before their bodies were discovered on 7 June.
Mrs Smallman has dismissed an apology from the Metropolitan Police after the force’s response to their deaths was found by the watchdog to be below standard.
Paul Goddard, from the CPS, said: “Pc Jamie Lewis and Pc Deniz Jaffer’s senseless conduct fell way below that to be expected from police officers.”
“Their thoughtless and insensitive actions have no doubt caused immeasurable further distress and pain to the heartbroken family and friends of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry who were already left reeling from the loss of their loved ones,” Mr Goddard added.