Police Officers' Text Messages 'Gossiping' About Sarah Everard's Murder Revealed
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The content of a series of messages sent by Met Police officers during the investigation of Sarah Everard's death have been revealed.
Sergeant Simon Kempton, of Dorset Police, has been accused of breaching standards of courtesy and respect, social media use and confidentiality after he shared details about the case - and Wayne Couzens' defence - on a messaging app.
At the time, sergeant Simon Kempton was on secondment as treasurer of the Police Federation, which represents officers in England and Wales
Speaking about the investigation, a series of messages to members of the Police Federation executive read: "Wait til you hear what his defence was today.
“He [Couzens] said he used prostitutes and took one to a Travel Lodge type place in Folkestone.
"He underpaid her so his family were being threatened by the gang. They said, '...well you'd better get us another girl then ...'
"So he went and found Sarah and took her to a lay-by in Kent where a Mercedes Sprinter on Romanian plates flashed him. He handed her over and didn't see her again.
"Except he was seen on CCTV in B&Q and bought two builders bags. And she was found in a builders bag.
"So essentially coughing to kidnap but denying murder."
One person replied: "The old 'slipped and fell', the next thing I knew ..."'
Adding: "He is better off just blaming it on the fact he is ginger."
While another wrote: "He had suffered a nasty bang to his head which might explain why he thought that excuse might fly."
Sergeant Kempton has denied any wrongdoing, and this week gave evidence at a hearing at Dorset Police headquarters.
Defending the messages, Mr Kempton said he believed it was important that other members of the executive team were briefed, so they could discuss the stance to be taken in subsequent press releases.
"We were talking about how we could play our part in building confidence and whether we needed to have any lines for the media prepared," he said.
"At that point, the federation, through me, we knew that [Couzens] had admitted at least one grave offence, and that changes things on a number of levels.
"Once we put out a press release, we can't retrieve it, so for me that was the most urgent concern, followed by a claim for [ legal fees] that we may already have decided to fund."
When asked about the tone of his messages, he added: "It was conversational and I regret that in light of where I am sat, but it is conversational because this is a conversation.”
Speaking about whether the messages showed a lack of respect and courtesy to Sarah Everard's family, Mr Kempton added: "I don't accept that and that's hurtful. God only knows what they had already been through - if I had in any way contributed to their distress I would be beside myself.
"I don't think I did, but I would be beside myself."
Mr Kempton has been accused of 'gossiping' with Mark Ley-Morgan, barrister acting for Dorset Police, saying the "tone and content" of the messages was "indicative of someone who was gossiping".
"It is not consistent with someone imparting important information he believes others need to know," he said.
"He had no reason to share the information. The question is what should he have done once he was in possession of that information. He should have kept it to himself.
"This wasn't done because it was necessary, it was done to gossip and ran the risk of highly confidential information being put into the public domain."
The misconduct hearing is due to conclude by Friday.