Ex-police worker who shared photo of dead body admits misconduct charge

The 31-year-old admitted a charge which alleged that he wilfully misconducted himself by taking a picture of a photo which he had access to

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A police control-room worker has admitted a misconduct charge after using his personal mobile phone to take a picture of the body of a teenager who was hit by a train.

Ex-British Transport Police employee Joshua Tilt, who is understood to have shared the image via WhatsApp, will face sentence in December after pleading guilty to misconduct in public office by photographing a computer screen showing an image of 18-year-old RAF Cadet Lewis Williams.

Joshua Tilt is understood to have shared the image via WhatsApp.
Joshua Tilt is understood to have shared the image via WhatsApp.

Tilt, of Lye Close Lane, Bartley Green, Birmingham, was granted unconditional bail at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday but told he is likely to face a custodial sentence.

The 31-year-old admitted a charge which alleged that he wilfully misconducted himself by taking a picture of a photo which he had access to and distributing it to other people with “no legitimate purpose for viewing or possessing it”.

Lewis, described by his family as “popular, funny and kind”, was diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder before his death in Slough, Berkshire, in June.

His parents were in court to hear Tilt enter his guilty plea during a 15-minute hearing.

The teenager’s father Paul has previously told how the family were informed on July 2 that British Transport Police had launched an investigation into a member of the force’s staff.

Mr Williams, of Slough, said he was told someone had “gained access to the police aftermath scene photos, chosen a photo of his (Lewis’s) dismembered body and then shared the image in a WhatsApp chat group with 14 others”.

“I immediately felt sick,” Mr Williams said.

Adjourning sentence on Tilt, Judge Paul Farrer KC told him: “You have pleaded guilty to what on any view is a serious offence involving gross misconduct in the course of your employment.

“You have heard me indicate to your counsel that the likely sentence is one of imprisonment. Nonetheless, the court will benefit from having more information about you before ultimately deciding upon the nature and length of your sentence.

“I enlarge your bail. In doing so I give you no guarantee whatsoever as to what the eventual sentence will be.”

Tilt, who left court without comment, will be sentenced on December 14.