Sunday, April 21, 2024
HomeCourtsMet officer jailed for offensive WhatsApp messages

Met officer jailed for offensive WhatsApp messages

A Metropolitan Police officer has been jailed for 71 days after admitting sending “grossly offensive” messages of an “indecent, obscene or menacing character”.

PC Tom Phillips, 34, of Croydon, south London, was suspended from duty after sending WhatsApp messages in breach of the Communications Act in 2021.

These included racial slurs to his ex-partner about her new boyfriend – both of whom are serving police officers.

Phillips was off duty at the time.

During the trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, prosecutor Louise Oakley told the court Phillips had begun a relationship with the woman in 2017, but it had broken down by 2021 when the offending took place.

Ms Oakley said Phillips became “arrogant” and would “belittle” his ex-girlfriend but they continued to live together at a house they had bought.

Among the messages sent by Phillips to his then-partner on WhatsApp were messages about why her new boyfriend was attracted to her and what their babies would look like.

The court heard Phillips also used misogynistic language when describing why they were together.

‘Hostility based on race’

However, when interviewed by police last year he originally denied the offending, the court was told.

He tried to suggest his partner had written the texts on his phone and sent them to herself to frame him, adding the screenshots were doctored and she had got her partner to do it for her.

The prosecutor said the exchanges amounted to a “campaign” which showed “determined hostility based on race”.

“The defendant was a serving police officer at the time of the offending and in our submission he has undermined the confidence the public have in the police,” she said.

Defending, Phillips’ lawyer said the views expressed in the messages were not his client’s real ones, that Phillips had shown “genuine remorse”, and had acted in the context of the end of the relationship.

District Judge Louisa Cieciora sentenced PC Phillips to 71 days in prison and handed him a two-year restraining order banning him from contacting either of the two victims except through their lawyers.

Judge Cieciora said the messages “were not simply an emotional outburst but a considered course of conduct”.

“The probation officer said your language and actions demonstrate you harbour those core beliefs of racial hatred, as well as misogyny.

“I am not persuaded there is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation and I am satisfied appropriate punishment can only be achieved by immediate custody.”

The Met Police’s Directorate of Professional Standards previously said it is investigating PC Phillips.

(Source: BBC)


Stay Connected


Must Read