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Nottingham stabbing victims’ families are ‘sickened’ to learn police officers shared graphic details of their injuries on WhatsApp in latest horrifying scandal


The families of three murder victims have been left ‘sickened’ after graphic details of their injuries were shared to a police WhatsApp group – then forwarded to others.

An officer posted a message detailing the horrific injuries suffered by students Grace O’Malley-Kumar and Barnaby Webber and caretaker Ian Coates during Valdo Calocane’s knife rampage in Nottingham last June.

Another officer, PC Matthew Gell, sent the ‘distasteful’ message to his wife and a friend, a gross misconduct hearing was told.

A source told the Mail that a shift WhatsApp group, which included PC Gell, was sent details of the injuries, as well as how the police were responding to the unfolding incident.

Speaking on behalf of the three families who lost loved ones, 19-year-old Barnaby’s mother, Emma Webber, last night said revelations of the ‘needless voyeurism’ by officers ‘sicken us’.

Family members of those killed by Nottingham stabbings at CPS offices in Westminster, Central London. (L-R) James Coates, son of Ian Coates,Emma Webber, mother of Barnaby Webber and Dr Sanjay Kumar , father of Grace O'Malley

Family members of those killed by Nottingham stabbings at CPS offices in Westminster, Central London. (L-R) James Coates, son of Ian Coates,Emma Webber, mother of Barnaby Webber and Dr Sanjay Kumar , father of Grace O’Malley

19-year-old Barnaby's mother, Emma Webber, last night said revelations of the 'needless voyeurism' by officers 'sicken us'

19-year-old Barnaby’s mother, Emma Webber, last night said revelations of the ‘needless voyeurism’ by officers ‘sicken us’

Grace, who like Barnaby was 19, was a talented sportswoman who had played hockey for England

Grace, who like Barnaby was 19, was a talented sportswoman who had played hockey for England

Mrs Webber, 51, said: ‘What an abhorrent way to conduct an investigation. We cannot emphasise how painful this tragedy is for all our families, and to learn that there has been internal needless voyeurism of the vicious knife attacks on our loved ones is unforgivable. We were not, at any point, made aware of this (data breach).’

Former Victims’ Commissioner Dame Vera Baird said: ‘This is absolutely shocking. Extraordinary behaviour from police officers who should know better.

‘People like this do not deserve to be police officers because clearly they cannot be trusted with the responsibilities that come with being one.

‘It is capable of damaging trust in policing – people won’t want to reveal things to officers if they worry they will share them with any old person or could be chuckling over their notebooks about private matters.’

The panel was told PC Gell had forwarded the message, which also incorrectly stated the atrocity had been declared a terror attack, after his wife and a friend messaged him asking about the situation in Nottingham. PC Gell was issued with a final written warning after being found guilty of gross misconduct at the hearing, held with little advance notice on Friday, January 19 – just two working days before the start of 32-year-old Calocane’s sentencing hearing.

Nottinghamshire Police said the officer who sent the original message was ‘dealt with informally’ and carried out ‘developmental learning’. The Police Federation’s Tom Hill, for PC Gell, said his client was a ‘sacrificial lamb’ who had been treated ‘unfairly and harshly’ in comparison to others.

The shocking episode is the latest in a string of scandals involving police officers acting inappropriately over WhatsApp.

In June 2020, two Metropolitan Police PCs were jailed for taking and sharing sick photos of the bodies of murdered sisters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry.

Firearms officer Wayne Couzens joked with colleagues about rape two years before he murdered Sarah Everard. Two of Couzens’ former colleagues were convicted over the posts. And five former Met officers who served in the same unit as Couzens admitted sending racist messages in a separate group.

Mr Coates was a grandfather and a much-loved caretaker at a local school

Mr Coates was a grandfather and a much-loved caretaker at a local school

Paranoid schizophrenic Valdo Calocane, 32, was sentenced to an indefinite hospital order after pleading guilty to three counts of manslaughter with diminished responsibility

Paranoid schizophrenic Valdo Calocane, 32, was sentenced to an indefinite hospital order after pleading guilty to three counts of manslaughter with diminished responsibility

Last April, two Scotland Yard officers were sacked over sick messages including some which mocked Katie Price’s disabled son. Along with six former colleagues, they exchanged racist, misogynistic, transphobic and anti-Semitic messages between May 2016 and June 2018.

Mrs Webber spoke out ahead of a meeting between the bereaved families and Attorney General Victoria Prentis today.

The families are expected to be told the outcome of an independent review into the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision to accept Calocane’s guilty pleas to manslaughter – on the basis of diminished responsibility – and whether it sufficiently consulted with the victims’ families, rather than pursue murder charges.

Paranoid schizophrenic Calocane admitted manslaughter and was given a hospital order after a three-day hearing at Nottingham Crown Court.

The police watchdog is investigating Nottinghamshire Police over a string of potential failings relating to the case, including its contact with Calocane before the killings.

Mrs Webber has accused police of having ‘blood on their hands’ after it emerged a warrant had been issued for Calocane’s arrest nine months before the attack.

Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said she had asked the College of Policing to conduct an independent review.

Commenting on the sharing of injury details in the WhatsApp group, she said: ‘Of course this sort of behaviour should not be happening, but if there is anything that was badly handled it will come out in the review.’

Nottinghamshire Police said: ‘The messages are crude and distasteful and we have taken this matter extremely seriously, resulting in one officer being handed a final written warning and the other officer receiving management intervention. This misconduct hearing was held in the public domain… and was overseen by an independent legally qualified chairman.’

Force still reeling after officers shared photos of victims’ bodies 

By George Odling 

Police WhatsApp groups were thrust into the spotlight after two officers were jailed for sharing sick photos of two murder victims.

Deniz Jaffer, 50, and Jamie Lewis, 35, were given two years and nine months in December 2021 for misconduct in public office after their shocking behaviour emerged.

They had been assigned to protect the cordon of a murder scene after Nicole Smallman, 27, and Bibaa Henry, 46, were knifed to death in a park in Wembley, north-west London, in June 2020 by teenage devil-worshipper Danyal Hussein.

But instead, the two officers took six photographs of the sisters’ bodies which were then sent via WhatsApp to a group of fellow officers and members of the public, including a doctor and a dentist.

As they stood at an inner cordon, Lewis messaged colleagues saying: ‘Unfortunately I am sat next to the two dead birds with stab wounds.’ Jaffer then risked contaminating the crime scene as he crept beyond the cordon to take more photographs on his phone.

The duo were reported after a colleague received the messages and witnessed them prowling around the scene.

The pair were released from prison last April after serving less than 17 months. The mother of the murdered sisters, Mina Smallman, a retired Church of England archdeacon, has said she still fears the photos could re-emerge.

She called for an additional clause in the officers’ licence conditions which would have sent them back to prison if they discussed or shared the images.

Killed: Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman

Killed: Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman

Jailed: Jamie Lewis

Jailed: Deniz Jaffer

Jailed: Jamie Lewis (left) and Deniz Jaffer (right)



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