The mother of two sisters who were murdered in a London park has criticised the Metropolitan Police after officers allegedly shared “inappropriate” photographs of the crime scene.
Nicole Smallman, 27, and Bibaa Henry, 46, are believed to have been stabbed to death by a stranger at Fryent Country Park in north-west London. The incident occurred in the early hours of 6 June.
While no one has been charged with their murder, two police officers have been arrested on suspicion of misconduct in a public office. They were arrested after claims emerged that they’d taken selfies at the crime scene and shared them with other people.
The sisters’ mother, Mina Smallman, told the BBC that the pictures “dehumanised” her children, adding:
This has taken our grief to another place…
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If ever we needed an example of how toxic it has become, those police officers felt so safe, so untouchable, that they felt they could take photographs of dead black girls and send them on.
It speaks volumes of the ethos that runs through the Metropolitan Police.
Scotland Yard said its directorate of professional standards was told last week about allegations that “non-official and inappropriate photographs” had been taken at the murder scene.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said the pictures were allegedly “shared with a small number of others”. It added that the Met was “handling matters involving those members of the public who may have received those images”.
The two officers have been suspended from duty. Smallman said:
They [her daughters] were nothing to them and what’s worse, they sent them on to members of the public.
She claimed the police did not immediately respond to initial reports that the sisters were missing. She also added that she coordinated a search operation on the weekend they died.
Smallman told the BBC:
I knew instantly why they didn’t care. They didn’t care because they looked at my daughter’s address and thought they knew who she was.
A Black woman who lives on a council estate.
The IOPC is separately investigating how the Met handled calls from worried family and friends of the sisters after they went missing.
Met Police response
Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said on Friday 26 June:
My heart goes out to the family.
In relation to the allegations about a photograph, I am dumbfounded. I am appalled.
The killer is thought to have suffered a “significant injury” during the attack before he left the park via its Valley Drive entrance.
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