Cop and PSCO Convicted of Shocking Misconduct in Vigilante Murder

Left: Victim Bijan Ebrahim and Right: Lee James who murdered him (r), and Stephen Norley (l) who assisted James
Left: Victim Bijan Ebrahim and Right: Lee James who murdered him (b), and Stephen Norley (t) who assisted James

A police officer and a community support officer have been convicted of misconduct after the vigilante murder of a disabled man.

Bijan Ebrahimi, 44, was beaten to death and his body set on fire by neighbour Lee James, who wrongly believed he was a paedophile, in Bristol in 2013.

James was jailed for life for the murder, while Stephen Norley, who lived next door, was sentenced to four years in prison for assisting an offender.

Pc Kevin Duffy, 52, and PCSO Andrew Passmore, 56, were each convicted of a charge of misconduct in a public office by a jury at Bristol Crown Court.

Speaking outside court, Mr Ebrahimi’s sister Manizhah Moores called for Duffy and Passmore to be removed from Avon and Somerset Police.

Duffy and Passmore are two of 18 officers and staff facing misconduct proceedings within the force. Of those, nine are accused of gross misconduct.

Pcs Leanne Winter, 38, and Helen Harris, 40, were each acquitted of a charge of misconduct in a public office following the seven-week trial.

Judge Neil Ford QC, the Recorder of Bristol, released Duffy and Passmore on bail until a date to be fixed.

“All sentencing options are open in this case,” he told both defendants.

Mrs Moores said: “We now call on the chief constable to remove officers Duffy and Passmore from the force with immediate effect.

“Our search for justice for Bijan continues.

“We dedicate Bijan’s memory to all other victims of race hate crime, in the hope that their lives can be protected.”

She thanked the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and the Crown Prosecution Service for the “important prosecution”.

The court previously heard Mr Ebrahimi dialled 999 to report that James had come into his flat and head-butted him on July 11.

James wrongly believed that Mr Ebrahimi, an Iranian national, had filmed his young children.

Mr Ebrahimi was actually gathering evidence to support his claims of anti-social behaviour to Bristol City Council.

Pcs Winter and Harris arrived at the scene, Capgrave Crescent in Brislington, to find James crying with anger and frothing at the mouth.

A mob had formed outside and James was heard shouting: “Paedo! I’m going to f****** kill you.”

Pcs Winter and Harris arrested Mr Ebrahimi, who was not visibly injured, for allegedly breaching the peace.

In footage filmed by Mr Ebrahimi, he tells Pc Harris: “For second time he came to me and threatening me to die and you let him go.

“You are supposed to come here to look after me.”

The officer told Mr Ebrahimi to get back inside his home, replying: “You’re making it worse, get in, get in.”

As Mr Ebrahimi was led away, the crowd outside cheered and shouted “paedophile”.

While in custody, Pc Harris told him: “All you are doing is upsetting the residents… and antagonising them.

“I’m a police officer and you’re a pain in the ass. Don’t speak to me.”

He was released from custody the following day, July 12, and made 12 calls to police non-emergency number 101.

Mr Ebrahimi was informed that Duffy, his local beat manager, would visit but the officer refused to speak to him.

“My life is in danger. Right now a few of my neighbours are outside and shouting and calling me a paedophile. I need to see Pc Duffy,” Mr Ebrahimi told one operator.

Duffy told a supervisor: “He should be told in no uncertain terms that I will speak to him at my convenience, it’s Mr Bijan Ebrahimi he’s well known to me and I won’t be taking any calls from him.”

He asked Passmore to conduct a “bit of a foot patrol” around Capgrave Crescent.

Passmore was found not guilty of failing to patrol there but was convicted of later falsely telling murder detectives he had spent an hour in the area.

On July 13, Mr Ebrahimi tried to contact Duffy and Winter. He phoned police at 00.12am on July 14 – about an hour before his murder – asking for Winter.

The officer told a call operator: “I’m absolutely not interested in speaking to him ever.”

Witnesses saw James repeatedly stamp on Mr Ebrahimi’s head before setting him alight at 1.35am.

James then told his partner: “We set him on fire. He is not going to take photos any more. Tell the girls I did it for them and you.”

A post-mortem examination found Mr Ebrahimi, who had problems with mobility and suffered from depression, died before he was set alight.

Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe described Mr Ebrahimi’s murder as “senseless”.

“We have changed and improved the way we work and will continue to work with our partners to do everything in our power to prevent such a dreadful event happening again,” she added.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “It is clear that on this occasion the constabulary failed local people and let down a vulnerable man in his own home.

“This should never have happened.”

IPCC commissioner Jan Williams said the police watchdog had shared its findings with Avon and Somerset Police “at a senior level”.

Guilty! Prison Officer who made £20,000 from selling stories to the press

pizzeyA corrupt prison officer from top security HMP Belmarsh has been found guilty of leaking stories about celebrity inmates to the Daily Mirror over six years.

Grant Pizzey, 50, made nearly £20,000 from the tabloid for tips about “notorious” prisoners including Great Train robber Ronnie Biggs, hate preacher Abu Hamza and serial killers Steve Wright and Levi Bellfield.

He also passed on information to journalist Greig Box Turnbull about life at the high security jail which resulted in stories about Easter eggs, a laptop for a terror suspect and higher prices in the prison canteen, the court heard.

Pizzey was on trial at the Old Bailey charged with misconduct in a public office, with his wife Desra Reilly, 48, who was accused of aiding and abetting him.

The couple, from Widecombe Road, Eltham, south east London, denied wrongdoing but were found guilty after the jury deliberated for eight hours and 40 minutes.

The pair shook their heads as the foreman of the jury delivered the majority verdicts.

Using Reilly as the go-between, Pizzey passed confidential information to Mr Box Turnbull between December 1 2005 and January 31 2012.

Reilly first contacted both The Sun and the Daily Mirror in December 2005 with a story about So Solid Crew rapper Dwayne Vincent, stage name Megaman, being found with a mobile phone after he was attacked in Belmarsh.

In a message to The Sun, she wrote: “I have information regarding a security lapse at Belmarsh. Anyone interested?”

Sun journalist James Clothier got back to her, only to be told that the Mirror had been first, the court heard.

Reilly told him that she did not know how much she would be paid by the Mirror and that it would depend on who she dealt with in future.

As well as the “exclusive” about Megaman, she handed over another tip to the Mirror about a smuggled pen gun security scare at Belmarsh, the court heard.

Mr Clothier responded by promising to “top any offer for stories, particularly from the Daily Mirror”, jurors were told.

But Reilly went on to receive cheques and transfers to her bank account from the Mirror on 47 separate occasions.

Prosecutor Julian Christopher QC said some were for stories while others were to keep the source “on side” and encourage more tips in the future.

The relationship developed to the point where Mr Box Turnbull could use Pizzey to confirm information he had heard elsewhere, such as whether James Bulger killer Jon Venables was at Belmarsh.

Pizzey, who worked as a prison officer at Belmarsh in south east London from 2000, knew he was not allowed to speak to the press, which is why he used Reilly, a railway cafe worker, as the contact.

When the couple were arrested in July 2012, they declined to answer questions in police interview.

The case hinged on whether or not Reilly alone had made money by passing on information she picked up from “casual conversations” with her partner.

Giving evidence, Reilly told jurors that she kept her contact with Mr Box Turnbull a secret from Pizzey after he “poo-pooed” the idea of going to the press.

She said that Pizzey would regularly “let off steam” and regale her with stories about the famous inmates.

The mother-of-four regarded Mr Box Turnbull as a friend who was genuinely interested in her life, but conceded: “Obviously he was just trying to get more information out of me in the end.”

Seeing her stories printed in the Mirror gave the waitress “excitement”.

She said: “When I got the first money, it was like a little bit extra for a couple of sentences and I thought there cannot be much wrong in doing that. It was something on the side. It was excitement in my life that I had never had before.”

Judge Richard Marks refused the couple bail and remanded them in custody until sentencing next Friday.

Afterwards, Detective Superintendent Larry Smith, from Operation Elveden, said: “When public officials behave in this way, they breach the trust and confidence placed in them by the public to act with honesty and integrity.

“In this case the evidence presented to the court showed that Pizzey was aware that in his role as a prisoner officer, selling confidential information obtained in the course of his duties was wrong.

“Using Reilly, he attempted to mitigate this by appointing her as the go-between. Their actions damaged the public trust and merit criminal sanction.”

Police officer in court tomorrow charged with misconduct in public office

Sussex-policeA police officer is to appear in court charged with misconduct in public office and alleged data offences.

Pc Luke Smith, 33, a Sussex Police officer based at Hastings, was arrested in March following claims made against him by a female member of the public in the town.

He has been charged with misconduct in public office and “knowingly or recklessly obtaining, disclosing or procuring the disclosure” of personal information without permission of the data controller.

A police spokesman said that Smith will appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 12th November 2015.

 

Prison Officer told he faces jail

Tracey Connolly
Tracey Connelly

A former prison officer from north London could be locked up behind bars for selling story tips to the Daily Mirror.

Joseph De Souza, 51, sold a string of tips about the treatment of Tracey Connelly to the Daily Mirror after she was jailed for the death of her infant son, Peter.

His leaks resulted in four published articles. He received £950 over more than two years while he worked at the prison, for adult women inmates and young offenders.

De Souza, who now works as a bus driver, pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office between March 2007 and June 2009 at an Old Bailey hearing yesterday.

Judge Timothy Pontius adjourned the case and warned De Souza, of Manger Road, Holloway, that he may face jail when he returns for a sentencing hearing on October 9.

He said: “Plainly, given the nature and seriousness of the offence, the court must consider among various options a prison sentence.”

De Souza was identified when Mirror bosses, having conducted an internal review, handed over evidence to the police.

His contact at the paper, Victoria Ward, was interviewed under caution about the payments, but was told by police she would face no further action.

De Souza is the latest public official to be convicted under the Met’s Operation Elveden probe into corruption between the press and public officials.

Det Chief Supt Gordon Briggs, leading on Elveden, said: “De Souza leaked confidential information obtained in the course of his duties to a journalist for private gain. He was not a whistleblower and his corrupt activity was motivated by money.

“De Souza breached the trust that was placed in him by the public without reasonable excuse or justification. His dishonest actions damaged the public interest and merit criminal sanction.”

De Souza was released on bail, on condition that he co-operates with his probation officer and stays at his home address.

 

Prison officer admits misconduct in public office

Mark Blake
Mark Blake

A former prison officer who leaked stories to the Sun about a Serco-run immigration centre in west London has pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office.

While working as a prisoner custody officer, Mark Blake, 42, from Slough, was paid nearly £8,000 for tips about the Colnbrook secure immigration removal centre in Hillingdon which resulted in 10 stories being published by the tabloid newspaper over three years.

As well as naming individuals including a 9/11 plotter, the articles highlighted issues with the way the centre was run with headlines such as “Wiis for foreign lags in UK jails”, “Gastrojail” and “We fund massages for foreign killers”.

Following a trial at the Old Bailey in March, a jury could not agree a verdict on whether Blake’s dealings with the Sun reporter amounted to misconduct.

The Crown Prosecution Service later announced it would pursue a retrial against Blake while dropping the case against his co-accused Tom Wells.

On the day the retrial was scheduled to start, Blake changed his plea to guilty after hearing that he may be spared jail to look after his two children.

colnbrook

Blake’s lawyer Graham Trembath QC had formally applied to judge Mark Lucraft QC for an indication on what the maximum sentence would be if the defendant changed his plea.

In his response, Judge Lucraft noted the impact of the harm caused by the stories was difficult to quantify although it did affect the reputation of Serco and the UK Border Agency and made external recruitment more difficult.

The court heard that Blake had admitted that his motivation was partly financial and partly public interest.

The judge also took into account various factors raised by Mr Trembath including the length of time since the offence and the fact Blake is the primary carer of his two sons, aged six and 13.

He concluded that ordinarily after a trial the maximum sentence would be 18 months in custody, but a guilty plea would reduce that to 15 months.

The judge told the court that a pre-sentence report would be needed to assess the impact of custody on Blake’s children which could provide “strong reasons” for suspending the sentence.

Blake, who sat in the well of the court, pleaded guilty to a single count of misconduct in a public office between January 2008 and December 2010.

He was granted conditional bail until sentencing at the Old Bailey on September 21.

Police officer couldn’t control sexual urges

Christopher Hopkins
Christopher Hopkins

A police constable was “unable to contain his urges” as he committed a string of sexual assaults while on duty, a court has heard.

Christopher Hopkins, 41, is said to have targeted his three alleged victims between 2006 and 2013 – an under-age girl, a 17-year-old girl and a work colleague at Merseyside Police.

The married father also allegedly arranged over the internet to meet a man for sexual activity when he should have been on mobile police patrol.

opening the prosecution case at Preston Crown Court, Richard Haworth told jurors: “The Crown’s case, in a nutshell, is that he was unable to contain his sexual urges and all of these alleged offences were committed to satisfy his predatory sexual nature.

“As an overall view, the audacity and impertinence of some of the sexual advances beggars belief at times. But such an approach is a common feature of his offending.”

The first complainant was aged between 13 and 15 when Hopkins visited her home address after she had been reported missing.

While alone together in the kitchen Hopkins commented she looked old for her age and effectively “gave her the once over” as he looked her up and down, said the prosecutor.

Mr Haworth said the complainant felt “intimidated” when Hopkins asked her for a kiss.

She went to give him a kiss on the cheek but the defendant turned and kissed her on the lips, the court heard.

The teenager went on to have further dealings with the complainant and arrested her on one occasion.

Mr Haworth said that while en route to the police station the defendant remarked to a fellow officer: “How long do you think it will before she is pregnant?”

The prosecutor went on: “He had possession of her mobile phone and he was looking through the content.

“He found pictures stored on her phone which depicted her wearing only her underwear and, the prosecution say, he showed them to his colleague in due course.”

On another occasion, Hopkins approached the complainant in public while in uniform and said to her: “You know what you need, don’t you? A f*** buddy.”

Hopkins, of Whickham Close, Widnes, Cheshire, denies five counts of sexual assault, one count of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and one count of misconduct in a public office.

Prison officer tipped off journalists

Robert Norman
Robert Norman

A former prison officer at top-security HMP Belmarsh tipped off a journalist about a Roman Catholic chaplain having relationships with inmates because he believed it was being “swept under the carpet”, a court has heard.

Robert Norman, 54, is accused of committing misconduct in a public office by becoming the “paid mole” of reporter Stephen Moyes while he worked at the Daily Mirror and later at the News of the World.

Norman, who was also a Prison Officers’ Association union representative, was allegedly paid more than £10,000 for 40 tips to Mr Moyes between April 30 2006 and May 1 2011, his Old Bailey trial has heard.

But giving evidence in his defence, Norman denied being Mr Moyes’ “man at Belmarsh” and insisted he wanted to highlight what was going on at the south London prison.

Under cross examination, he was quizzed on records about a £200 payment for a story about the Chaplain sacked by Belmarsh for “affairs with inmates”.

Norman agreed that he gave Mr Moyes information about “inappropriate behaviour” by the priest and the fact that he had been suspended.

Prosecutor Julian Christopher QC asked if that meant the prison had taken action and there was therefore no need to highlight the case in the press.

Norman responded: “Not, really no. Swept under the carpet, it was going to be.”

He told jurors that when he first spoke to Mr Moyes about it he believed that the chaplain was not going to be dealt with “in the correct manner” and the authorities planned only to move him.

He said: “They were not going to suspend him. There’s more to this than what you are reading here and I don’t know how far I can go without the court saying it’s hearsay.”

When the barrister suggested he was making it up as he went along, Norman replied: “I’ve got no reason to make things up. I’ve given a full and frank interview and I have been as honest as I can about this.”

The defendant allegedly channelled cheques from newspapers through his son’s bank account.

But he repeatedly denied that his son Daniel knew anything about his dealings with Mr Moyes adding that they never discussed where the money was coming from.

Mr Christopher asked: “You would not have said ‘I’m making some handy money on the side from the Mirror’?”.

The defendant replied: “No sir, I would not.”

Norman, of Milton Street, Swanscombe, Kent, denies the charge against him and the trial continues.

Prison Officer jailed over tips to newspaper

Reggie Nunkoo sold stories about celebrities such as George Michael
Reggie Nunkoo sold stories about celebrities such as George Michael

A former prison officer has been jailed for 10 months for selling “salacious gossip” about celebrity inmates to the Sun and Mirror newspapers.

While working at Pentonville Prison, Reggie Nunkoo, 41, was paid £600 by the Mirror for information he gave reporter Graham Brough about Jack Tweed being on suicide watch and a prison break in 2009, the court heard.

Nunkoo, of Walthamstow, east London, went on to approach the Sun and handed journalist Neil Millard details about singer George Michael crying in his cell and being moved to a “soft” prison after he was jailed for driving under the influence of cannabis in 2010.

He was also paid in 2011 for a Sun article headlined, Acid thug hid drugs in his cell, about Daniel Lynch, who was convicted of arranging an acid attack on TV presenter Katie Piper.

The officer, who used the pseudonym Roy, admitted he was purely motivated by money and had pocketed a total of £1,650, the court heard.

When he was arrested in June 2013, police found photographs of celebrity Blake Fielder-Civil, ex-partner of the late singer Amy Winehouse, at his home, prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC said.

Nunkoo earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office and was today jailed for 10 months at the Old Bailey.

The Common Serjeant of London said his conduct had amounted to a “flagrant breach” of the terms of his employment and a “gross breach of trust”.

He ordered Nunkoo to pay £1,000 he had gained through his crime plus a £100 victim surcharge.

In mitigation, his lawyer Jonathan Page said the information Nunkoo handed over was “more salacious gossip that anything that undermines security”.

He said the offences were committed in the context of a “picture of a marriage in crisis and a wife demanding a better lifestyle to be provided her than Mr Nunkoo could provide on his wages”.

As a result, the defendant, who has shown “genuine remorse”, is now back living with his parents in the bedroom he grew up in, Mr Page said.

At the same hearing, the judge handed a four-month sentence suspended for 12 months to Metropolitan Police Service civilian worker Rosemary Collier, who admitted misconduct in a public office in relation to her dealings with Mr Millard in 2010.

Collier, who worked at the central communications command in Bow, was paid £700 for information from a confidential briefing note on how to act in the face of a terrorist shooting incident.

It led to a story in the Sun headlined Mumbai Raid Fear for Xmas Shoppers, the court heard.

Collier, 40, of Tiverton in Devon, appeared tearful in the dock as the judge ordered her to pay the sum total of the money she gained amounting to £772, plus a £80 victim surcharge.

Mr Millard, 33, of south Croydon, and Mr Brough, 54, of south-west London, were both cleared of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office following a trial last month at the Old Bailey.

In his evidence, Brough said he did not believe Nunkoo was a prison officer at the time and he only give him “limited information” for his stories.

Following the sentencing, Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Superintendent Gordon Briggs, leading on Elveden, said: “Collier and Nunkoo leaked confidential information obtained in the course of their duties to journalists for their own private financial gain.

“When public officials act in this way, they betray the trust placed in them and undermine public confidence, their dishonest actions harm the public interest and merit criminal sanction.”

PC jailed for 3 years for sex on duty

PC Adam Rushton
PC Adam Rushton

A police officer who had oral sex with vulnerable women while on duty has been jailed for three years.

Pc Adam Rushton, branded “a disgrace to the police service” on conviction last month, was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court today for five counts of misconduct.

The 37-year-old, of Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, was also found guilty of breaching data protection laws while a Staffordshire Police officer based in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent.

During his three-week trial, Rushton conceded that some of his actions were “not very professional” but denied that it amounted to criminal conduct.

Judge Murray Creed, sentencing, said: “This case is personal tragedy for you and your family. As a police officer you were in a position of trust with the public.”

The court heard in mitigation that Rushton attempted to resign his post but was sacked by the force, with whom he served for 10 years, on Monday under a fast-tracking procedure.

Judge Creed said Rushton had come across his victims “at a stage when people were in vulnerable periods of their lives”.

He added: “There was distress caused to those victims, some of them, self-evident during their evidence”.

Judge Creed said it was concerning to hear colleagues had tried to warn Rushton over his behaviour, and that on one occasion “you did not tell the truth to senior officers seeking to help you”.

The offending spanned four years, from 2008 to 2012, and involved five women in all.

Judge Creed said the most serious incident involved a very vulnerable victim whom he visited in uniform at her home.

Rushton made up the reason for the visit, accusing her over a “bogus cyber bullying issue”, and convinced her to show him her private parts under the auspices of his fake investigation.

Judge Creed said: “Plainly that must have been humiliating, but the incident didn’t emerge until two years later when she was seen by officers in connection with another matter and referred, in passing, to that.

“As a result, this whole inquiry was commenced. It is a troubling episode as far as she is concerned.

“She was plainly vulnerable – indeed she said she did not think she would be believed because of her history.”

In relation to the other counts, Rushton met what the judge described as another “vulnerable young lady” through a police incident, befriending her and eventually entering into a relationship.

He was convicted of conducting a social visit to her home.

Another woman he met through an internet dating site and he was found guilty of receiving oral sex from her during a work-time break.

He was also convicted of going to her home, while in uniform, with the intention of having some sexual contact.

The judge said: “She believed you wanted to have sex, but in any event it didn’t take place as she found you smelled of garlic.”

There was another encounter with a fourth woman while on duty and in uniform, whereRushton received oral sex, later texting her saying “You’re ace”.

Judge Creed said: “The texts were graphic. Those details were studied and plainly, at the time, you were on duty.

He added: “There were calls to your unit, while you were engaged in the activity or shortly thereafter.”

“Prior to that there were two calls which had been ignored from control.”

He was also convicted of looking up a fifth victim’s details on the police computer system.

During the trial, Rushton was acquitted of five other counts of misconduct in a public office and a single charge of breaching the Data Protection Act.

The former neighbourhood police officer, wearing a grey suit, made no reaction as he was sentenced and seemed prepared for the possibility of custody by bringing a holdall of belongings with him.

Kevin Baumber, in mitigation, described Rushton as “a hard-working conscientious police officer, achieving results, involved in charity work, and a doting father and husband, still in the long process of rehabilitation but someone who has the support of his family”.

He added: “The impact, sadly, will fall most brutally upon his wife and his children and that is something he will have to live with and continue to make amends for.”

Afterwards, Deputy Chief Constable Nick Baker, of Staffordshire Police, welcomed the sentence, saying Rushton had “brought shame” on himself and the force.

“I have apologised personally to those victims of his actions on behalf of Staffordshire Police,” he said.

“I would also like to thank those individuals who supported the investigation and gave evidence during the recent trial; their bravery should not be underestimated.

“Adam Rushton brought shame on himself, his colleagues and Staffordshire Police.

“There is simply no excuse for Rushton’s actions and we will not tolerate such disgraceful behaviour in this organisation.

“The public must be able to trust their police officers, and on this occasion they were badly let down. He has been dismissed from the force.

“I want to reassure the public of Staffordshire lessons have been learned from this matter and we will take robust action against any officer or member of staff whose behaviour falls below the high standards expected.

“We are proud that the overwhelming majority of officers and staff members work hard and with integrity to serve the people of Staffordshire.”

Policeman faces misconduct sentence

PC Adam Rushton
PC Adam Rushton

A police officer from Newcastle-under-Lyme who had sex with vulnerable women he met while on duty will be sentenced by a Crown Court judge today.

Pc Adam Rushton was branded “a disgrace to the police service” last month after being convicted of five misconduct charges.

The 37-year-old was also found guilty of breaching data protection laws while based in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent.

During a three-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court, Rushton was accused of engaging in sexual activity with four different women while on duty.

The officer, who admitted being unprofessional but denied acting unlawfully, was found guilty of five counts of misconduct in a public office and a charge of illegally obtaining personal data.

But jurors cleared Rushton of five other misconduct allegations and a second offence under the Data Protection Act. Rushton, who is on bail, will be sentenced at the same court by Judge Murray Creed.