Two London Metropolitan Police officers are off the force after taking and sharing photos of the dead bodies of two women, whom they referred to as “dead birds.”
Jamie Lewis and Deniz Jaffer confessed to taking the photos of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman after they were brutally murdered in a sacrificial killing at a London park.
The officers were assigned to guard an area near the crime scene but left their post to take the photographs of Henry and Smallman’s bodies to share in WhatsApp groups.
“Unfortunately, I’m sat next to two dead birds with stab wounds,” Lewis said in the WhatsApp message, referring to the two Black women. Jaffer sent a separate message saying: “I’m here now. I’ll try to take pictures of the dead birds.”
Lewis, who initially denied taking the photos, was fired by a law enforcement panel last week. They were found guilty of gross misconduct. Officials said their actions were “disappointing.” Jaffer had previously resigned and was ordered banned from being a police officer again.
Smallman and Henry were picnicking in the park on June 6, 2020, when they were attacked by Danyal Hussein and stabbed multiple times. Hussein, 19, said he was told by a demon named “the Mighty King Lucifuge Rofocale” to kill the women in exchange for winning a £321 million, or more than $363 million, lottery ticket. Police reportedly found a letter, signed in Hussein’s blood, vowing to kill six women every six months.
The sisters were celebrating Henry’s birthday in the park that day. Hussein stabbed Henry 18 times and Smallman 28 times. Smallman’s husband discovered the women’s bodies the next day. Hussein was sentenced to life in prison and could serve a minimum of 35 years.
Mina Smallman, the victims’ mother told BBC after Hussein’s sentencing that there’s no peace without her daughters. “There’s no peace really, do I feel a sense of relief or joy? No, I don’t. I feel justice has been done but there’s work, there’s still work to be done.”
Jaffer took four pictures of the siblings, and Lewis took two. One image had Lewis’ face superimposed onto it and was shared with Jaffer and a female colleague, who was also on the scene. Lewis also posted multiple pictures of the crime scene (without the victims) in a WhatsApp group with over 40 other law enforcement officials.
“Neither of them had authority or a policing purpose to do so,” Police Constable Helen Tierney said at a Nov. 24 police tribunal hearing.
Both men were suspended shortly after the incident. Jaffer resigned in August.
Jaffer and Lewis did not attend the hearing that led to the end of their law enforcement careers, but they sent a letter to the tribunal chair, Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball. The letter’s contents were not made public, but Ball said “no response or explanation” for the officers’ actions was included in the letter.
“Both were aware of the other’s actions and sent images to the other and failed to challenge or report such actions,” Ball said. “It is obvious to all the behavior this way discredits the police service and undermines public confidence. Dismissal would be justified, and I find the matter as gross misconduct.”
The Met’s commissioner Cressida Dick, who was criticized by Smallman for her office’s handling of the case, offered an apology to the family.
“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 behavior.”
Jaffer and Lewis pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office earlier this month. The pair’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec. 6. According to Ball, the pair should be expect “lengthy” sentences for their actions.
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