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Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman: Mina Smallman speaks out after the officers who took photos of her daughters’ bodies are jailed

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Lauren Geall
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Flowers at the vigil for Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman

Speaking outside court yesterday (6 November), Mina Smallman said there was “more work to be done” after the officers who took photos of her daughters’ bodies were jailed for two years and nine months each.

Updated 7 December: The mother of the murdered sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman has spoken out after two Metropolitan police officers were jailed for taking and sharing photos of her daughters’ bodies.

Mina Smallman – who described the officers’ actions as a “sacrilegious act” during yesterday’s sentencing hearing – said the family were “thrilled” with the result after going to “hell and back again” since the sisters were murdered in London’s Fryent Country Park last June.

She also told reporters that the case did not represent an ending – especially when it comes to changing the culture within the police force. 

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“There is more work to be done,” she said outside court yesterday (6 December). “The most important thing, because of the sentencing we are part of the change that’s going to come in the culture of the police force. Most of our police force are amazing and do an amazing job, but there is an element that has taken over the culture of how they banter.”

PC Deniz Jaffer, 47, and PC Jamie Lewis, 33, were jailed yesterday for two years and nine months each after pleading guilty to misconduct in a public office in November.

During the trial, it was revealed that the pair had sent the photos they took of the sisters’ bodies to other officers via WhatsApp, describing the pair as “dead birds”.  

This language, Smallman noted yesterday, was indicative that something needs to change: “It does matter the language they used, it’s an example of misogyny in its worst possible form,” she explained. “These police felt so secure in the way they behaved as they could do that as their subject. Awful.” 

She continued: “This additional pain and suffering that we have gone through could have been avoided. It is heinous.

“I hope this sends a signal to the Met and all other police forces, and gives strength to those who are being abused and hearing language they detest to speak up and people will listen.”

Yesterday’s sentencing followed an earlier tribunal hearing at the Met’s Empress building at the end of last month, when the pair were also barred from policing. 

As reported 2 November: Two Metropolitan Police officers have admitted to taking and sharing photos of the bodies of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman and sharing them on WhatsApp after the sisters were murdered in London’s Fryent Country Park in June last year.

The two officers – who have been named as PC Deniz Jaffer, 47, and PC Jamie Lewis, 33 – pleaded guilty this morning (2 November) to committing misconduct in a public office following an Independent Officer for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation.

The two officers took a series of photographs of the sisters after they were assigned to guard the murder scene overnight, a court at the Old Bailey heard this morning. 

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An investigation found that the pair left their posts manning the scene’s cordon and approached the sisters’ bodies – risking contamination of the crime scene – in order to take the photographs of the girls, who they described as “dead birds”.

Lewis – who took two photographs – then edited one of the pictures by superimposing his face onto a photograph of the victims, before sending the image to Jaffer, who forwarded it unsolicited to a female officer who was also present at the scene.

Jaffer – who took four photographs in total – showed one of the photos of the victims to a male officer as they left the park.

The court also heard how a picture of the crime scene – not featuring the sisters’ bodies – was shared by Lewis on a WhatsApp group of more than 40 fellow police officers. 

Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman
Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman in Fryent Country Park on the night they died.

Speaking in court this morning, Judge Mark Lucraft QC, the Recorder of London, said both officers should expect jail terms “of some length” when they return to the Old Bailey for sentencing in December.

“You took photos of the bodies, you superimposed the face of another and sent the images to others,” Lucraft said. “These matters are extremely serious. You should be under no illusion when you return for sentencing. It is extremely likely you will receive custodial sentences and custodial sentences of some length.”

Last week, Henry and Smallman’s killer, 19-year-old Danyal Hussein, was sentenced to a minimum of 35 years in prison for stabbing the sisters to death as part of a “campaign of vengeance” he launched against random women after he reportedly believed he’d signed a deal with a so-called demonic entity.  

He dragged the sisters’ bodies into the undergrowth, where they were found by Smallman’s boyfriend around 36 hours later. It was after this point that Lewis and Jaffer took pictures of the scene and shared them with colleagues.

Paul Goddard, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “PC Jamie Lewis and PC Deniz Jaffer’s senseless conduct fell way below that to be expected from the police officers.

“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. 

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Goddard continued: “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.”

These latest developments come just one week after the Metropolitan Police announced it would formally apologise to the family for its response to Henry and Smallman’s disappearance and murders last June, after a separate IOPC report found that the service provided to the family at the time was “below the standard that it should have been”.  

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.