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PCs at sisters murder scene sacked from force after ‘dead birds’ texts

Two Met officers who took “shameful” crime scene photos and described murdered sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman as “dead birds” on WhatsApp have been sacked following a tribunal.

PC Jamie Lewis, 33, and former officer Deniz Jaffer, 47, used the term when sharing messages on WhatsApp groups after straying from their cordons to take pictures of the two women, who were found dead in bushes in Fryent Country Park, Wembley, north-west London.

Lewis, who had only joined the force just over two years earlier, resigned in August while he was suspended and would have been dismissed had he still been serving. 

Jaffer, who joined in March 2018, was dismissed. The Met declined to confirm reports that Jaffer had been a mentor for new recruits. 

Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball, chairing an accelerated tribunal in west London on today, which neither men showed up to, decided both had committed gross misconduct.

She said: “This was hurtful, dishonest and unprofessional behaviour of the utmost seriousness.

“I am sorry that our officers behaved in such a hurtful, disrespectful and criminal way. Their actions are shameful.”

The hearing opened with a minute’s silence in memory of the victims and their families.

AC Ball said what happened first came to light via an anonymous report.

"I thank them for doing the right thing; we encourage all our officers and staff, and indeed members of the public, to report wrong-doing and we will act on those reports,” she said.

The pair have already been warned they face “lengthy” jail terms when they are sentenced at the Old Bailey on 6 December for misconduct in a public office.

The officers were placed at a cordon to protect the crime scene in the early hours of June 8 2020.

But both left their posts to take unauthorised pictures of the bodies on their phones, and shared them with colleagues, while Jaffer also sent them to members of the public.

The tribunal heard that Lewis sent a picture message of the dead women in a police WhatsApp group shortly before 4am, writing: “Unfortunately I’m sat next to two dead birds with stab wounds.”

Jaffer made a similar reference to being “with two dead birds” in a separate WhatsApp group which included members of the public.

Less than an hour later, Lewis sent a superimposed selfie-style photo of himself with the victims visible in the background to Jaffer.

Danyal Hussein, 19, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 35 years for murdering Ms Henry and Ms Smallman.

Hussein pleaded not guilty and his defence tried to exploit the fact the officers, who weren't wearing protective clothing, had been in and out of the place the bodies lay, potentially contaminating it with their DNA.

Both officers, who were based at the North East Command Unit, have been placed on the barred list. 

The hearing was told that Lewis also separately “responded with approval” and failed to challenge another officer's racist language. 

An officer stated he was going to be posted to new location which had fewer Asian people in, who he referred to as “P***s”.

Lewis replied: “Exactly.”

The Met said this officer would face a gross misconduct hearing in due course.

Jaffer also used the same racially derogatory term in a separate message to the public on another matter.

The force added every Met employee is being spoken to about “adhering to professional boundaries, their use of social media and their responsibility to challenge inappropriate behaviour”. 

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