03:19 GMT +313 December 2019
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    Judge Sentences UK Senior Police Officer Over Child Abuse Video Her Sister Sent to Her on WhatsApp

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    The “stellar” career of one of Britain’s most senior black women police officers lies in ruins after a catastrophic “error of judgement”. The case highlighted the danger of sharing content on WhatsApp, no matter how well intentioned.

    Superintendent Robyn Williams has been given a community order and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work by a judge on Tuesday, 26 November, after being convicted of possessing a video of child sexual abuse.

    The Common Serjeant of London, Judge Richard Marks QC, said she had a “stellar career” in the Metropolitan Police and had been given many awards but she now faces the sack after 36 years in the force.

    'Serious Errors Of Judgment'

    ​Judge Marks said it was a “tragedy” she should find herself in an Old Bailey courtroom because of a catalogue of errors of judgement by her, her sister and her sister’s partner.

    Williams, 54, was at a gym class on Saturday 1 February 2018 when her sister, Jennifer Hodges, forwarded her a video via WhatsApp which showed a six-year-old girl performing oral sex on a man.

    The court heard Hodges, 56, was outraged by the content, which had been spotted in a WhatsApp group by her partner, Dido Massivi, 61, a bus driver, who was also aggrieved at it and hoped Williams would be able to investigate it.

    ​But Williams claimed she did not notice the video - the prosecution accept she never played it - until two days later when Hodges contacted her again after she was reported to the police by one of her WhatsApp contacts.

    Hodge had sent the video to her 17 WhatsApp contacts, with the caption: “Sorry had to send this it’s so sad that this person would put this out please post this and let’s hope he gets life.”

    Under the law, Williams had to prove she had a legitimate reason to have the video, had not seen it or had no reason to believe it was indecent.

    Judge Marks said the jury clearly did not believe Supt Williams’ evidence that the video was not mentioned when she spoke to her sister on the phone at 7pm on the Saturday evening.

    ​Supt Williams, who was honoured for her work after the Grenfell fire disaster, was acquitted of corruptly failing to report the image because she feared getting her sister into trouble.

    Hodge was also given a community order and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work while Massivi, who was convicted of distributing two indecent images and possessing an extreme image, was given an 18 months jail sentence, suspended for two years.

    Prosecutor Richard Wright QC, conceded the defendants had no sexual interest in the images but said “This is instead a case in which we allege that each of them made serious errors of judgment about how to handle this video and in dealing with it as they did, each of them has committed serious criminal offences.”

    Massivi’s defence counsel, Lefi Siatta, said her client had been fired from his job as a bus driver after being charged and had fallen into a deep depression after his partner and her sister were charged.

    “He has lost weight. He is very low. He is diminished because he feels responsible for ruining his sister-in-law’s career and her life, aswell as his partner’. He used to be a chirpy, easygoing individual but as a result of this case he had diminished considerably and feels responsible for the damage he feels he has done,” said Ms Siatta.

    Hodge’s defence barrister, Andrea Brown, said her client had lost her job working with mentally and physically handicapped young people for the charity Scope and was also suffering from depression.

    Ms Brown said: “Her actions on 1 February have effectively destroyed her relationship with her sister, who was her only family.”

    Ms Williams’ counsel, Anesta Weekes QC, said her client’s abiding emotion is one of “devastation” for the child in the video.

    “She remains devastasted for the plight of that child. It’s an understatement to say that she is devastated to be in this courtroom but, as you can see from the public gallery, many people stand by her and support her,” said Ms Weekes.

    Ms Weekes said her client was almost certain to lose her job with the Metropolitan Police as a result of her conviction.

    It is understood police are still investigating the source of the video, which Massivi said he saw in a bus drivers' WhatsApp group.

    Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matthew Horne said: “The Independent Office for Police Conduct is carrying out an independent misconduct investigation into the actions of Supt Williams and we await the outcome. Supt Williams remains on restricted duties at this stage. This will be reviewed now criminal matters are complete.

    Tags:
    Old Bailey, child abuse, WhatsApp, Metropolitan Police
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