The Guardian

Discipline tribunal finds Met officers guilty over photos of victims

- Vikram Dodd Police and crime correspond­ent

Two Metropolit­an police officers who shared photos of two murdered sisters and referred to them as “dead birds” have been found guilty of gross misconduct.

PC Jamie Lewis, 33, will be instantly dismissed from the force, while former PC Deniz Jaffer, 47, had already resigned.

They were posted to guard the scene where the bodies of Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman, 27, were discovered in June 2020 after they had been stabbed to death by a teenager obsessed with Satan.

A Met discipline tribunal yesterday upheld the case against the two men after a short hearing. It followed a criminal trial where the two pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office after the Guardian revealed the scandal last year. Both men will be sentenced next month and face jail.

The officers were posted to guard the cordon after the sisters’ bodies were found in Fryent Country Park in Wembley, north-west London, in the early hours of 8 June last year.

Photos were shared on WhatsApp, with both former officers using the derogatory terms “dead birds”.

The tribunal was told Lewis sent a picture message of the dead women in a police WhatsApp group shortly before 4am, writing: “Unfortunat­ely I’m sat next to two dead birds with stab wounds.”

Jaffer used the offensive term “two dead birds” in a later WhatsApp message group, which included members of the public.

Lewis then sent a “selfie style” photo of himself superimpos­ed, with the victims visible in the background, to Jaffer. Both officers failed to report each others’ criminal conduct.

The hearing was chaired by the assistant Met commission­er Helen Ball, who condemned the two men. “I’m sorry that our officers behaved in such a hurtful, disrespect­ful and criminal way. Their actions are shameful,” she said.

Ball said the public “could not have confidence in the Met” if the force did not take their conviction­s and their behaviour seriously. She said the men’s former police colleagues were “appalled by what they had done”.

In another message Jaffer also used a racist term for Asians, and when Lewis received a separate message containing the same term he did not object.

Jaffer, of Hornchurch in east London, and Lewis, from Colchester in Essex, are scheduled to be sentenced at the Old Bailey on 6 December.

Danyal Hussein, now 19, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 35 years for murdering Henry and Smallman.

The criminal case heard Jaffer left the post he had been assigned to and went into bushes where the women had been left by their killer. The officer took out a mobile phone and took pictures of the bodies.

He sent four images to Lewis, who edited one of the photos and superimpos­ed his face on to it with the two murdered women visible in the background.

Lewis took other photos from the crime scene, which did not show the victims, and shared them via WhatsApp with a group of more than 40 officers who called themselves the “A-team”.

Henry, a senior social worker, and Smallman, a photograph­er, had been celebratin­g the elder sister’s birthday in the park. After the celebratio­n ended, they stayed behind and were attacked. They were reported missing the next day and a search by family and friends led to the partner of one of the sisters finding their bodies.

The Met’s handling of the case has been condemned by the police watchdog and the force has apologised for failings.

 ?? ?? ▲ Former PCs Deniz Jaffer, left, and Jamie Lewis shared photos of murder victims’ bodies
▲ Former PCs Deniz Jaffer, left, and Jamie Lewis shared photos of murder victims’ bodies

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