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'Despicable': Two police officers admit taking selfies at murder scene

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By Euronews  with AFP
The officers have pleaded guilty to misconduct in the line of duty and are due to be sentenced.
The officers have pleaded guilty to misconduct in the line of duty and are due to be sentenced.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Frank Augstein

Two London police officers have admitted taking selfies at the crime scene of a double murder and sharing them on WhatsApp.

The pair were responsible for protecting the scene where two sisters were found stabbed to death in a Wembley park last June.

But instead, they had crossed the police cordon to take "inappropriate" photographs of the bodies, according to prosecutors.

Deniz Jaffer, 47, and Jamie Lewis, 33, pleaded guilty to misconduct in the line of duty last month. On Monday they were each sentenced to two years and nine months in prison

Both officers were immediately suspended after they were arrested last June.

The mother of the two sisters -- 46-year-old Bibaa Henry and 27-year-old Nicole Smallman -- had described their conduct as "despicable".

"This case has brought us to even more anxiety," Mince Smallman added.

A 19-year-old man was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum sentence of 35 years for "brutally murdering" the two sisters.

The two officers were charged in April following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) added that the pair had risked contaminating the crime scene by taking the photos.

"[Their] senseless conduct fell way below that to be expected from police officers," said Paul Goddard, from the CPS.

"These officers were tasked with protecting a tragic crime scene, but instead they violated it for their own purposes, with no regard to the dignity of the victims, or the harm they might do to a murder investigation," he added in a statement.

"Their thoughtless and insensitive actions have no doubt caused immeasurable further distress and pain to the heartbroken family and friends of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry who were already left reeling from the loss of their loved ones. Our thoughts are very much with them at this time."

At Monday's sentencing in London, Judge Mark Lucraft also denounced their "appalling and inexplicable" behaviour.

London police have faced criticism in recent months after a former officer was jailed for the abduction, rape, and murder of Sarah Everard.