Wembley murders officers branded 'disgrace' over WhatsApp images
Pc Deniz Jaffer and Pc Jamie Lewis appear at the Old Bailey to be sentenced by Judge Mark Lucraft QC
Two police officers who took pictures of murdered sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman have been accused of a “catastrophic betrayal”.
Pc Deniz Jaffer and Pc Jamie Lewis were assigned to guard the scene overnight after Ms Henry, 46, and Ms Smallman, 27, were found dead in bushes in Fryent Country Park, Wembley, north-west London.
Instead, they breached the cordon to take photographs of the bodies, which were then shared with colleagues and members of the public on WhatsApp.
One was a “selfie-style” image which included Lewis’s face superimposed on it.
The officers also described the victims as “dead birds” in WhatsApp groups.
Jaffer, 47, of Hornchurch, east London, and Lewis, 33, from Colchester, Essex, pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office.
On Monday, the pair appeared at the Old Bailey to be sentenced by Judge Mark Lucraft QC.
In victim impact statements, family members described the defendants as a “disgrace” to the police family and to mankind.
The women’s mother, Mina Smallman, said the officers’ actions were a “betrayal of catastrophic proportions” and a “sacrilegious act”.
Finding out that the men took selfies “for their own amusement” had left the family “horrified”, she said.
Mrs Smallman added: “Those police officers felt so safe, so untouchable, they felt they would take photos of our murdered daughters. Those officers dehumanised our children.
“If it had not been for an anonymous tip-off to the IOPC (Independent Office for Police Conduct) we would never have known.”
She added that the actions of the officers amounted to “pure misogyny”.
Setting out the facts, prosecutor Joel Smith said the officers had committed a “gross breach of trust”.
They had been tasked with protecting the crime scene and instead stripped the victims of their “dignity” in death, he said.
Their behaviour came amid public outcry over the murders which was “shocking in its ferocity and its nature”.
Jaffer and Lewis, neither of whom was wearing forensic protection, had arrived in the park at 3.30am on June 8 last year.
During the night, Jaffer took four pictures of the bodies in situ and Lewis took two, and superimposed his face on to one of them to create the “selfie-style” image.
Jaffer sent an inexperienced female officer at the scene photographs of the bodies as they lay intertwined in the bushes, including Lewis’s “selfie”.
Jaffer went on to show images to two other officers, including a female probationary officer he was supposed to be mentoring at Forest Gate police station, who was “shocked” and “disgusted”.
Lewis showed his phone displaying an image from the crime scene to another female officer who could not see it properly, the court heard.
On June 19 last year, the police watchdog received an anonymous “tip-off” about Lewis.
As a result of information he provided, Jaffer was also arrested three days later.
When his wife asked why he was being arrested, Jaffer said it was about a photograph he had taken and “nothing done intentionally”.
An examination of the officers’ phones revealed that the inappropriate images had been shared on WhatsApp.
The defendants were both members of a group called A Team, comprised of 41 Metropolitan Police officers.
Jaffer was also in another WhatsApp group of nine other people who were not in the force.
Shortly after arriving on the scene, Lewis posted to the A Team group an article about the discovery of the bodies, saying he and his colleagues were “living the Wembley dream”.
Lewis wrote: “Unfortunately I’m sat next to two dead birds full of stab wounds.”
Jaffer posted on the other WhatsApp group: “I have pictures of the two dead victims. Let me know who doesn’t want to see.”
Further inquiries confirmed that Jaffer sent a photo of the bodies to a former colleague with the message: “This is what I have to deal with.”
Two more members of the public received pictures from him, with one sending it on to his partner.
Officers from the IOPC visited all the people who were sent the images, which were deleted, the court heard.
Analysis of Lewis’s phone showed that he had sent messages to a third WhatsApp group containing seven non-police members.
He revealed to the group that he was involved in a double murder investigation, wrongly saying the victims were aged 20 and 14 and one was pregnant.
Last month, a tribunal found the officers had committed gross misconduct.
Lewis was dismissed from the Metropolitan Police immediately and Jaffer would have been sacked too, had he not already quit the force.
In October, Danyal Hussein, 19, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 35 years for the murders.
Judge Lucraft will sentence the two officers later.