Two Metropolitan Police officers apologised as they appeared in court after taking photographs of a double murder scene before sharing them on WhatsApp.
Pc Deniz Jaffer, 47, and Pc Jamie Lewis, 32, are charged with misconduct in a public office between June 7 and June 23 last year over the pictures of sisters Nicole Smallman, 27, and Bibaa Henry, 46.
The officers had been assigned to protect the scene after the two women were stabbed to death at Fryent Country Park in Wembley, north-west London, in the early hours of June 6.
Social worker Ms Henry, from Brent in north-west London, and photographer Ms Smallman, from Harrow in north-west London, had met friends the previous evening to celebrate the elder sister’s birthday.
Jaffer and Lewis appeared in the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday to face a single charge which states each “misconducted” themselves “in a way which amounted to an abuse of the public’s trust in the office holder by without authorisation, entering 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.”
Their lawyer Luke Ponte said: “There is an indication to be given and it’s an indication of a guilty plea on behalf of both defendants.”
He added: “They are sorry beyond measure for the pain that they have caused.”
Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring sent the case to the Old Bailey on June 24 when they will be required to formally enter pleas, saying it was a “high profile” case.
Jaffer, of Hornchurch, east London, appeared in court dressed in a blue sweater over a checked shirt and wearing a black face mask.
Lewis, from Colchester, Essex, wore a dark suit with a waistcoat over a white shirt and burgundy tie, as well as a blue face mask.
The pair, who only spoke to confirm their names, addresses and dates of birth during the brief hearing, were granted unconditional bail.
The officers were arrested as part of a criminal investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) watchdog into allegations they took “non-official and inappropriate photographs” of the crime scene before sharing them on WhatsApp.
Jaffer and Lewis, who are both attached to the Met’s North East command unit, were both suspended from duty following their arrests on June 22 last year and charged last month.
The watchdog is also carrying out 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.
Danyal Hussein, 19, of Guy Barnett Grove, Blackheath, south-east London, is facing trial at the Old Bailey in June accused of the sisters’ murders.