LONDON (AFP) – Two British police officers were charged on Wednesday (April 28) over photographs believed to have been taken of victims at a suspected murder scene and later circulated among colleagues.
Deniz Jaffer, 47, and Jamie Lewis, 32, will appear in a London court on Thursday to face charges of misconduct in public office.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) led inquiries into inappropriate images taken by police at a crime scene.
The allegations surround the deaths of sisters Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman, 27, in north-west London in June last year.
The pair were killed at a park in Wembley after celebrating Ms Henry’s birthday with friends.
“These are extremely serious charges and we thank the IOPC for their work to get to this point,” said Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) commander Paul Betts. “Our thoughts go out to the families of Bibaa and Nicole, as we recognise the renewed grief and pain this development will bring,” he added.
“We know the public will share our outrage, but I would ask that space is now given to allow the judicial process to run its proper course.”
London’s Metropolitan Police officers were also reminded “of their responsibilities in using WhatsApp and other social media channels”, the force said.
Danyal Hussein, 18, faces a trial later this year, having been charged with two counts of murder and possession of an offensive weapon.
The case again shines a spotlight on the Metropolitan Police after one of its officers was charged with murder over the high-profile death of Sarah Everard, who disappeared while walking home in March this year.
Ms Wilhelmina Smallman, the mother of the dead sisters and a senior Church of England cleric, has highlighted differing approaches to the deaths.
She said the police and politicians paid more attention to Ms Everard’s disappearance and death because the victim was white.
“I think the notion of ‘all people matter’ is absolutely right but it is not true,” she told the BBC. “We are on a journey to say that we all matter and actually I can now use this specific situation of my girls and Sarah, they didn’t get the same support, the same outcry.
“Other people have more kudos in this world than people of colour.”