Pc Deniz Jaffer, 47, and his colleague Pc Jamie Lewis, 32, are set to appear at the Old Bailey later this month over allegations that they shared pictures of a double murder scene on WhatsApp.
The two Metropolitan Police officers appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 27 May having each been charged with a single count of misconduct in public office over the images of sisters Nicole Smallman, 27, and Bibaa Henry, 46.
The two women were stabbed to death at Fryent Country Park in Wembley, northwest London, in the early hours of 6 June last year.
Ms Henry, a social worker from Brent in northwest London, and her photographer younger sister Ms Smallman, from Harrow in northwest London, had met friends the previous evening to celebrate Ms Henry’s birthday.
The two officers had been assigned to protect the scene after the bodies of Ms Henry and Ms Smallman were found on 7 June.
There was public outrage after news emerged that police officers had taken “selfies” next to the bodies. A criminal investigation was immediately launched by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) into the allegations.
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. They were formally charged in April 2021.
Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring said the case of Jaffer and Lewis was “high-profile”, before sending it to the Old Bailey for June 24, where the officers will be expected to formally enter pleas.
Jaffer appeared in the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 27 May, wearing a blue sweater over a checked shirt and black face mask, 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. Their lawyer Luke Ponte said the two men planned to admit to the offences.
Mr Ponte told the court: “There’s an indication to be given and it’s an indication of a guilty plea on behalf of both defendants.
“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.”
Jaffer, of Hornchurch, East London, and Lewis, from Colchester, Essex, were both granted unconditional bail.
The pair were initially arrested as part of the IOPC investigation into allegations that the officers took “non-official and inappropriate photographs” of the crime scene before sharing them on WhatsApp.
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 at lunchtime on 7 June.
Danyal Hussein, 18, is accused of killing the two sisters. The teenager, of Guy Garnett Grove, Blackheath, denies two counts of murder. He is currently on trial at the Old Bailey.