Former Met officers jailed for sharing photos at murder scene

Two former Metropolitan Police officers have been jailed following a hearing at the Old Bailey today (December 6) for taking and sharing photographs from the scene of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry’s murders.

Former police constables Jamie Lewis and Deniz Jaffer – who served in a unit covering Waltham Forest and Newham – pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office when they appeared before the court on November 2.

Lewis and Jaffer were each sentenced to two years and nine months. The judge ordered half of their sentence be served in prison. Their convictions follow a four-month investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

After the hearing IOPC Regional Director Graham Beesley said: “As Jamie Lewis and Deniz Jaffer begin their sentences, my thoughts and sympathies, as always, are with the family and friends of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry.

“The actions of these men were a gross breach of the standards expected from police officers and undoubtedly compounded the family’s grief.

“We hope the recommendations we made to the MPS last year, now embedded across the north east command structure, are embraced by all officers. A shift in attitudes, culture and behaviour is required to ensure this never happens again.”

On November 24, the MPS held an accelerated gross misconduct hearing for Lewis and Jaffer. Lewis was dismissed without notice and Jaffer would also have been dismissed had he not already resigned from the service. They will be added to the barred list, preventing them from future employment within the police service.

The Met will arrange the disciplinary proceedings for three PCs who allegedly were either aware of, received or viewed the inappropriate photographs taken at scene of the sisters’ murders and failed to challenge or report them.

The final report following the police investigation into how the Met handled missing persons reports from the sisters’ family and friends has now been released and can be read here: https://www.policeconduct.gov.uk/sites/default/files/FINAL%20Op%20Gascoyne_redacted_report_2021.pdf

The Met was advised to apologise to the family over its failings after the IOPC found the level of service provided to the sisters’ relatives and friends over the weekend following their disappearance was unacceptable.

The report from the investigation into the taking of the photographs at the murder scene is not being published at this time as misconduct proceedings for three officers are still pending.

An investigation which stemmed from but was not connected to the investigation of the crime scene photographs, concluded that two people have a case to answer for gross misconduct over allegations they received a photograph taken at the scene of a sudden death in January 2020, and that they shared answers prior to a police driving exam.

A PC, who took and shared the photograph with one officer, has a case to answer for misconduct. It is alleged that the picture was taken with a personal phone, in breach of policy, but there was no evidence to indicate it had not been taken for a legitimate policing purpose. The officer was not protecting a crime scene, therefore it was the IOPC’s view that there was no risk of contaminating any evidence.

Following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) it was decided there was no indication the officer may have committed a criminal offence.

It will be for the Metropolitan Police to arrange the disciplinary proceedings. Separately the Met will hold a gross misconduct hearing for a further PC for his alleged use of racist language within a WhatsApp group.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]