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Metropolitan Police officers admit sharing photos of murdered sisters' bodies on Whatsapp
2 November 2021, 10:01 | Updated: 2 November 2021, 11:23
Two Metropolitan Police officers have pleaded guilty to sharing photos of the bodies of murdered sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman on WhatsApp.
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Pc Deniz Jaffer and Pc Jamie Lewis were assigned to protect the scene after the sisters were found dead in bushes in a north-west London park last year.
Instead, they breached the cordon to take "inappropriate" and "unauthorised" photographs of the bodies, which were then shared on WhatsApp.
Jaffer took four photographs, Lewis took two and one of the images sent to a female colleague had Lewis's face superimposed onto it, it can now be reported.
At the Old Bailey on Tuesday, the officers admitted committing misconduct in a public office.
The sisters' mother Mina Smallman, who has described them as "despicable", sat in court for the hearing.
Jaffer, 47, from east London, and Lewis, 33, from Essex had been arrested as part of a criminal investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) watchdog.
The pair, who were attached to the Met's North East command unit, were both suspended from duty following their arrests on June 22 last year.
Satanist Danyal Hussein, 19, was last week jailed for life with a minimum term of 35 years for murdering 46-year-old Ms Henry and 27-year-old Ms Smallman.
The victims had been celebrating Ms Henry's birthday in Fryent Country Park, Wembley, when they were viciously stabbed by Hussein.
Hussein then dragged their bodies into bushes and left them with their limbs entwined in a deliberate act to defile them in death.
Some 36 hours later, the sisters were found by Ms Smallman's distraught boyfriend after he became concerned when she failed to return home.
While police were searching the park for forensic evidence, the sisters' bodies were left in the small copse overnight.
It can now be reported that Jaffer and Lewis were assigned to guard the deposition site on June 8.
After arriving at 3.30am, they were placed at the inner cordon closest to the bodies and instructed to remain at their posts and maintain the integrity of the scene.
But a female colleague - identified only as Pc 3 - saw them walking backwards and forwards to talk to each other.
Pc 3 was then approached by the defendants, who told her the victims' bodies were inside a bush close to where one of them had been standing.
A while later, she received a WhatsApp message from Jaffer containing four photographs of the bodies.
One of the images had the face of Lewis superimposed on it.
Jurors were told that the images were subsequently circulated by both defendants.
The court heard the bodies would not have been visible from the path next to the bushes so, in order to take the photos, the officers would have had to move from their posts.
Neither was wearing protective clothing.
Blood and DNA from the bodies and surrounding area led investigators to Hussein, who was also caught on CCTV buying the murder weapon and coming and going from the park.
Hussein’s defence team called into question the two officers' actions as they examined whether the incriminating DNA evidence could have been contaminated.
But, in his closing speech, prosecutor Oliver Glasgow QC rejected any suggestion that the bodies were touched or interfered with in any way by the officers.
He told jurors: "It is no part of the Crown's case to defend them for what they did: they have been charged and, if convicted, they will never wear a police uniform ever again.
"But their disgusting lack of respect does not mean that you are entitled to conclude that they contaminated the crime scene or that the swabs taken from Bibaa and Nicole's ankles are in some way compromised."
He said the photographs were taken from some distance away and any suggestion that the bodies were touched was "utterly groundless".
At an earlier hearing at magistrates' court, a lawyer for the two officers apologised on their behalf for the "pain that they have caused" and indicated that they would plead guilty to misconduct.
The IOPC also concluded a separate inquiry into how the Met handled calls from worried relatives and friends of missing Ms Smallman and Ms Henry before their bodies were discovered on June 7.