Mother of murdered sisters says Met Police must ‘get the rot out once and for all’ after officers admit sharing photos of bodies
The mother of two sisters murdered in Wembley has called on the Metropolitan Police to “get the rot out once and for all ” after officers took photos of their bodies and shared them on WhatsApp.
PC Deniz Jaffer 47, and PC Jamie Lewis, 33, pleaded guilty to committing misconduct in a public office at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.
The officers had been assigned to protect the scene in Wembley’s Fryent County Park after sisters Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman, 27, were found dead in bushes.
Instead, they breached the cordon to take “inappropriate” and “unauthorised” photographs of the bodies, which were then shared on WhatsApp.
Jaffer took four photographs and Lewis took two, and one of the images sent to a female colleague had Lewis’s face superimposed on to it.
Speaking outside the Old Bailey after the hearing, the victims’ mother Mina Smallman called on the force “to drill down and get the rot out once and for all”.
“You are not above the law, you are not going to be protected,” she said, before criticising Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick for her “shoddy way of behaving and her response since all of this has come out”.
Mrs Smallman told reporters: “She has not contacted us to say ‘I am really sorry’. She has not spoken into this story at all. And it’s shameful that the IOPC (Independent Office for Police Conduct) had to tell the Met they should apologise to us in their failings for the missing persons (investigation). Too little too late. Too little too late.”
The Met’s commissioner has apologised to the family on behalf of the force.
“Our thoughts today are with the family and friends of Bibaa and Nicole. I deeply regret that at a time when they were grieving the loss of their loved ones who were taken in such awful circumstances, they faced additional distress caused by the actions of two police officers,” she said.
“What former PC Jaffer and PC Lewis chose to do that day was utterly unprofessional, disrespectful and deeply insensitive. I know that is the view of colleagues across the Met who utterly condemn this behaviour.
“They have pleaded guilty today to a serious criminal offence and sentencing will follow in due course. I apologised to Bibaa and Nicole’s family in June last year and, on behalf of the Met, I apologise again today.”
Speaking about the impact of the misconduct case, Mrs Smallman said: “It may seem really ridiculous that this case has brought us to even more anxiety today.”
She said it had been the “final straw” to find out what Jaffer and Lewis had done while preparing for the funeral of her daughters.
She added: “You go to London to start to prepare for the funeral of your two children, and you are forced to have a meeting with the IOPC’s then commander to tell you that police officers that should have been protecting the area had actually taken selfies and sent them out to a dentist and doctor and a WhatsApp group.”
The two officers were later arrested as part of a criminal investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) watchdog.
At the hearing on Tuesday, they both admitted to the same charge, which stated that “without authorisation he entered a crime scene he had been assigned to protect, sending information about his attendance at the scene to members of the public via WhatsApp and taking photographs of the crime scene”.
The pair, attached to the Metropolitan Police‘s North East command unit, were both suspended from duty following their arrests on 22 June last year.
Last week, Satanist Danyal Hussein, 19, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 35 years for murdering Ms Henry and Ms Smallman.
During Hussein’s trial, Mrs Justice Whipple had banned reporting of details about the behaviour of Jaffer and Lewis, who were referred to only as Pc 1 and Pc 2.
The jury had heard that the victims had been celebrating Ms Henry’s birthday when they were viciously stabbed by Hussein, who then dragged their bodies into bushes and left them with their limbs entwined in a deliberate act to defile them in death.
It can now be reported that Jaffer and Lewis were assigned to guard the deposition site on 8 June, arriving at 3.30am before being placed at the inner cordon closest to the bodies.
A while later, the female officer received a WhatsApp message from Jaffer – Pc 1 – containing four photos of the bodies, with one of the images having the face of Lewis – Pc 2 – superimposed on it.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said in a statement on Tuesday that Lewis also shared photographs he had taken at the crime scene – which did not show the victims – with a WhatsApp group of 40-plus officers called the A Team.
Meanwhile, Jaffer sent photos of the victims to three friends on WhatsApp.
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 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 7 June.
Paul Goddard, from the CPS, said: “Pc Jamie Lewis and Pc Deniz Jaffer’s senseless conduct fell way below that to be expected from police officers.”
“Their thoughtless and insensitive actions have no doubt caused immeasurable further distress and pain to the heartbroken family and friends of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry who were already left reeling from the loss of their loved ones,” Mr Goddard added.