Two police officers who took pictures of the bodies of murdered sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman have been jailed for two years and nine months each.
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.
Lewis wrote: ‘Unfortunately I’m sat next to two dead birds full of stab wounds.’
Jaffer posted on another WhatsApp group: ‘I have pictures of the two dead victims. Let me know who doesn’t want to see.’
Jaffer, 47, of Hornchurch, east London, and Lewis, 33, from Colchester, Essex, pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office.
On Monday, Judge Mark Lucraft QC rejected an appeal for the officers to be spared custody, jailing each of the men for two years and nine months.
The judge condemned their ‘appalling and inexplicable conduct’.
The men disregarded the victims’ privacy for ‘a cheap thrill’ or ‘some form of bragging rights’ which undermined trust and faith in police, the judge said.
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’.
Pc Deniz Jaffer (left) and Pc Jamie Lewis (pictured left and right in November following their arrests), the two police officers who took pictures of murdered sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman
Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman taken from Bibaa’s phone. On Monday, Judge Mark Lucraft QC rejected the appeal for the two officers to be spared custody, jailing each of the men for two years and nine months
Mina Smallman (right), the mother of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, speaking outside the Old Bailey on Monday evening after the sentencing of Pc Deniz Jaffer and Pc Jamie Lewis
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.
As he sentenced them today, the judge said: ‘The public expects, and rightly so, the highest of standards from police officers.
‘I am sure there will be many thousands of officers in police forces in this country and abroad utterly horrified by your actions.
‘It is appalling and inexplicable conduct. Here, the two of you not only violated the police cordon with the effect that had on the scene and on the investigation, but then wholly disregarded the privacy of the two victims of horrific violence and their families for what can only have been some cheap thrill, kudos, a kick or some form of bragging right by taking images and then passing them to others.’
‘Not only did you violate the privacy of the two women who had been killed, but you also have undermined the trust and faith in police officers the public should be able to expect at times such as these.
‘It is clear that the two of you acted without any thought as to the effect on the two women, their families or the wider public interest.’
Neil Saunders, defending Jaffer, said the former officer understood how ‘understandably upset’ the sisters’ families were at his actions.
But he added: ‘However, on his behalf I invite you to temper those thoughts and the wishes of those who are still grieving to what is the right and fair sentence in the circumstances, taking into account the totality of the material before you.
Jaffer (left), 47, of Hornchurch, east London, and Lewis (right), 33, from Colchester, Essex, pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office
Murderer: Danyal Hussein, 19, who killed sisters Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman, 27, seen here in his police mugshot
Nicole Smallman, 27, and Bibaa Henry, 46, who were stabbed to death in Wembley last year
The sisters (above), who had been celebrating Ms Henry’s birthday with friends, were found the following day by Ms Smallman’s boyfriend
‘Deniz Jaffer has on a number of occasions made unreserved apologies to the family and friends.
‘Describing the two sisters as he did was shameful, taking the photographs of them even more so and then disseminating them to other colleagues and friends of his.
‘He recognises how totally disrespectful that was,’ said Mr Saunders.
Luke Ponte, defending Lewis, said: ‘It would be impossible to conceive how someone could add to the pain of those who loved Ms Smallman and Ms Henry.
‘That would be what Mr Lewis to his great shame, his life-long shame did.’
Mr Ponte said unlike other cases of police misconduct, his client did not try to undermine police operations or make a financial gain.
‘In Mr Lewis’ case it is the taking of the photographs that was the essence of the criminal conduct,’ said Mr Ponte.
‘He did not disseminate the images of the bodies to anybody, save for one exception: he sent back to Mr Jaffer the image of the bodies with his face superimposed.
‘His only dissemination was back to where it had come from.
‘He did not send the two images he took to anyone else.’
The barrister recognised that an important aspect of any sentence passed would be to act as a deterrent.
‘But the very public nature in this case would itself serve as a deterrent: that the person will rightly lose their good name, that the person will rightly lose their job, that they will be shamed, that they will rightly face public opprobrium, that they will be brought before the courts,’ he added.
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.
Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball, Professionalism, said: ‘Our thoughts are once more with the family and friends of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman. I am so sorry that during the most difficult time in their lives the actions of these two officers caused them so much additional pain and distress.
‘Today former PCs Jaffer and Lewis have been punished for their actions which were utterly unprofessional, disrespectful and deeply insensitive.
‘All of us in the Met and wider policing are horrified by their shameful behaviour.’
In October, Danyal Hussein, 19, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 35 years for the murders.
The satan-worshipper who murdered the two sisters turned away in his chair when he was sentenced in final act of disrespect.
He struck on Saturday, June 6 last year while the sisters were partying together in a north London to celebrate Bibaa’s 46th birthday.
Hussein was attempting to fulfil his ‘contract’ with a demon he had named Lucifuge Rofocale – signed in his own blood – in which he promised to kill six women in six months in return for winning the £321million Mega Millions Super Jackpot lottery and not being suspected of his crimes.
Such was his obsession with winning a huge sum, he spent £180 on Lotto tickets in the days before he struck.
The police’s lacklustre response to the women’s disappearance meant their bodies were found by their own friends and family.
Their mother, Mina Smallman, was the Church of England’s first female archdeacon from a black or minority ethnic background.
She was outraged by the slow response to the murder and has said she is ‘convinced’ her daughters’ race played a role in the slow investigation into their deaths.
A report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) on the service provided by the Met found it was ‘below the standard that it should have been’.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick apologised and said she would like to meet with the family personally.
Source: Daily Mail UK