Two Metropolitan Police officers said they were “sorry beyond measure for the pain that they have caused” after sharing photographs from the crime scene of two murdered sisters.
Pc Deniz Jaffer, 47, and Pc Jamie Lewis, 32, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday charged with misconduct in a public office between June 7 and June 23 last year.
The officers had been assigned to protect the scene after Nicole Smallman, 27, and Bibaa Henry, 46, 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 appeared in the dock wearing a blue sweater over a checked shirt and black facemask, next to Lewis, dressed in a smart dark suit with a waistcoat over a white shirt and burgundy tie.
Both spoke to confirm their names, addresses and dates of birth during the brief hearing before their lawyer Luke Ponte said they planned to admit the charge.
“There’s an indication to be given and it’s an indication of a guilty plea on behalf of both defendants,” he said.
“They are sorry beyond measure for the pain that they have caused.”
The charge, which was not read out in court, states each officer “misconducted” himself “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.”
Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring said it was a “high-profile” case and sent it to the Old Bailey on June 24, where the officers will be expected to formally enter pleas. Jaffer, of Hornchurch, east London, and Lewis, from Colchester, Essex, were both granted unconditional bail.
The pair 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 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.