Two Met police officers arrested over 'inappropriate' photos of murder victims

25 June 2020, 19:11

Bibaa Henry (left) and Nicole Smallman were stabbed to death in a London park.
Bibaa Henry (left) and Nicole Smallman were stabbed to death in a London park. Picture: Metropolitan Police

By Maddie Goodfellow

Two Metropolitan Police officers have been arrested after "inappropriate" photographs of a double murder scene were allegedly shared.

Sisters Nicole Smallman, 27, and Bibaa Henry, 46, are believed to have been killed by a stranger in Fryent Country Park, Wembley, after meeting friends to celebrate Ms Henry's birthday.

Police confirmed both women were stabbed to death.

Police investigating the "incredibly unusual" deaths in north west London have received more than 100 calls from the public following an appeal for information.

On Thursday, a criminal inquiry was launched after allegations emerged that "non-official and inappropriate photographs" had been taken at the crime scene.

The photographs were allegedly sent to a group of people, including members of the public.

It was reported to the Met police’s directorate of professional standards before being referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which is investigating.

IOPC described the allegations as “sickening”.

The two officers in question had been deployed to guard the scene, according to the Guardian.

They have been arrested on suspicion of misconduct in public office and have since been bailed to return pending further enquiries.

Both officers – who are based on the North East Command – have been suspended from duty.

The family of the two women know about the photographs and are said to be "shocked and distressed".

The sisters had been taking photos, listening to music and dancing with fairy lights in the park until the early hours of June 6.
The sisters had been taking photos, listening to music and dancing with fairy lights in the park until the early hours of June 6. Picture: Metropolitan Police

The IOPC said: “The investigation relates to allegations that inappropriate photographs were taken at a homicide crime scene and subsequently shared with a small number of others.

"The Metropolitan police service is handling matters involving those members of the public who may have received those images.

“Two Metropolitan police constables were arrested by IOPC investigators on Monday 22 June and have been bailed to a later date pending further enquiries.”

Sal Naseem, the IOPC director for London, said: “These are sickening allegations and when we were made aware by the Metropolitan police we acted quickly to arrest the officers involved in order to seize vital evidence.

"The victims’ family are naturally extremely distressed at this turn of events and we are ensuring that they are updated as our investigation is progressing.”

In a statement, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “Londoners will be undoubtedly disgusted by these sickening allegations and I am deeply concerned about the impact this will no doubt have on the victims’ family, friends and
the wider community.

“I welcome, and wholeheartedly support, the action taken by the Met and their decision to refer this incident to the IOPC for independent investigation.”

The Metropolitan Police said in a statement: These are very serious allegations and the MPS has been and will continue to provide every possible support to the IOPC investigation team as they work to establish the facts.

Commander Paul Brogden said: “I am horrified and disgusted by the nature of these allegations; a sentiment which will be shared by colleagues throughout the organisation.

"If true, these actions are morally reprehensible and anyone involved will be robustly dealt with. I am limited in terms of being able to comment further about the matter at this time in order not to compromise the IOPC investigation.

“Senior representatives from the MPS and the IOPC visited the parents of Bibaa and Nicole to inform them of these serious allegations and confirm that it is now subject to an independent investigation with full co-operation from the MPS.

"This deeply disturbing information will no doubt have created additional trauma for a family who are already grieving the devastating loss of two loved ones.

"I can only start to imagine the impact of this; and I’d like to sincerely apologise to them for this further burden.

“I know that the wider community will share our shock and repulsion at these allegations and whilst our focus remains with Bibaa and Nicole’s family we are also listening to the concerns our communities and key stakeholders will want to raise about these allegations.”