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Police officer and PCSO dismissed over vigilante murder misconduct

Published 22/01/2016

PCSO Andrew Passmore, left, and Pc Kevin Duffy have been dismissed by Avon and Somerset Police
PCSO Andrew Passmore, left, and Pc Kevin Duffy have been dismissed by Avon and Somerset Police
Bijan Ebrahimi was killed after a neighbour believed he was a paedophile

A police officer and a community support officer convicted of misconduct after the vigilante murder of a disabled man have been dismissed.

Pc Kevin Duffy, 52, and PCSO Andrew Passmore, 56, were found guilty of misconduct in a public office in connection with the death of Bijan Ebrahimi in Bristol in 2013.

Mr Ebrahimi, 44, was punched and kicked to death and his body set on fire by neighbour Lee James, who wrongly believed he was a paedophile.

Avon and Somerset Police today announced that both Duffy and Passmore have been dismissed from the force following misconduct hearings.

A spokesman said: "It was alleged that Pc Duffy breached the standards of professional behaviour in relation to his dealings with Bijan Ebrahimi between July 10-15 2013.

"Pc Duffy knew that, or ought to have known that, Mr Ebrahimi was at risk of harm.

"He failed to visit or otherwise make contact with Mr Ebrahimi and refused to speak to him on the telephone.

"As a result, Pc Duffy was convicted of misconduct in a public office on December 21, which has brought discredit to the constabulary.

"The allegations were upheld by the misconduct panel and, as a result, Pc Duffy was found guilty of gross misconduct.

"The ruling of the panel was that Pc Duffy be dismissed from Avon and Somerset police without notice.

"At a separate hearing earlier this week, PCSO Andrew Passmore was also dismissed in relation to this matter."

Duffy and Passmore are two of 18 officers and staff facing misconduct proceedings within the force. Of those, nine are accused of gross misconduct.

Pcs Leanne Winter, 38, and Helen Harris, 40, were each acquitted of a charge of misconduct in a public office following the seven-week trial.

Mr Ebrahimi's sister, Manizhah Moores, previously called on Avon and Somerset Police to remove Duffy and Passmore from the force.

Judge Neil Ford QC, the Recorder of Bristol, has said that all options are open when he sentences the men on a date to be fixed.

Jurors heard Mr Ebrahimi dialled 999 to report that James had come into his flat and head-butted him on July 11.

James wrongly believed Mr Ebrahimi, an Iranian national, had filmed his young children.

Pcs Winter and Harris arrived at the scene, Capgrave Crescent in Brislington, to find James crying with anger and frothing at the mouth.

A mob had formed outside and James was heard shouting: "Paedo! I'm going to f****** kill you."

Pcs Winter and Harris arrested Mr Ebrahimi, who was not visibly injured, for allegedly breaching the peace.

As Mr Ebrahimi was led away, the crowd outside cheered and shouted "paedophile".

While in custody, Pc Harris told him: "All you are doing is upsetting the residents... and antagonising them.

"I'm a police officer and you're a pain in the ass. Don't speak to me."

He was released from custody the following day, July 12, and made 12 calls to police non-emergency number 101.

Mr Ebrahimi was informed that Duffy, his local beat manager, would visit but the officer refused to speak to him.

"My life is in danger. Right now a few of my neighbours are outside and shouting and calling me a paedophile. I need to see Pc Duffy," Mr Ebrahimi told one operator.

Duffy told a supervisor: "He should be told in no uncertain terms that I will speak to him at my convenience, it's Mr Bijan Ebrahimi he's well known to me and I won't be taking any calls from him."

He asked Passmore to conduct a "bit of a foot patrol" around Capgrave Crescent.

Passmore was found not guilty of failing to patrol there but was convicted of later falsely telling murder detectives he had spent an hour in the area.

On July 13, Mr Ebrahimi tried to contact Duffy and Winter. He phoned police at 00.12am on July 14 - about an hour before his murder - asking for Winter.

The officer told a call operator: "I'm absolutely not interested in speaking to him ever."

Witnesses saw James repeatedly stamp on Mr Ebrahimi's head before setting him alight at 1.35am.

A post-mortem examination found Mr Ebrahimi, who had problems with mobility and suffered from depression, died before he was set alight.

James was jailed for life for the murder, while Stephen Norley, who lived next door, was sentenced to four years in prison for assisting an offender.

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