Northern Ireland

Shared pictures of suicide victim believed to have been taken by PSNI officers contained graphic and sectarian content

Police Ombudsman Marie Anderson
Police Ombudsman Marie Anderson Police Ombudsman Marie Anderson

PICTURES believed to have been taken of a suicide victim by PSNI officers, which were later shared contained graphic and sectarian content.

Fresh details of the case reveal that the victim's genitals were exposed in pictures taken when two officers attended a suicide scene.

Details of the shocking case were first revealed by the Irish News in March.

A file linked to the case was later forwarded to the Public Prosecution Service. One of the officers has been suspended with full pay.

It has now emerged that the case is part of a wider probe involving 11 separate, but related incidents, over several years.

The father of the victim, who died in 2017, said he was told about the Police Ombudsman investigation 18 months later.

"They informed me that two police officers had been questioned regarding my son and photographs that might have been taken of my son," he said.

He also claimed his family were told "it was a very serious affair and we weren't to discuss it".

The man's father said he was "physically sick to this day" over the allegations.

"Those police officers were in the house while I was there - asked me to leave the room - and I done everything they asked me to at the time," he said.

"And all that keeps coming back to me is why did I leave the room, because that must have been when they done it, when they took the photographs," he told the BBC.

The victim's sister said her brother's genitalia had been exposed in one of the photographs.

She alleged the two officers moved the victim's body around the room for pictures and a video while they added "an exclamation bubble coming out" of her brother's "mouth making fun of the way that he was".

The woman also said she believed the word "taig" was used in the speech bubble.

Police Ombudsman Marie Anderson said: "Many of these matters became apparent between 2017 and 2020, either through new complaints or as a result of enquiries by my investigators.

"The most recent relevant complaint was received in 2020."

She added that offences under investigation include computer misuse, data protection breaches, misconduct in a public office, harassment, the suspected supply of illegal drugs, and the suspected theft, possession and supply of prescription drugs.

PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said: "This investigation is being conducted by the Police Ombudsman. An officer is currently suspended.

"We expect the highest standards of professionalism and integrity from all of our police officers and staff in accordance with the standards contained in the Police Service of Northern Ireland's code of ethics."