Bristol police officers jailed over 'vigilante' death

A composite image of Bijan Ebrahimi, PCSO Andrew Passmore and Pc Kevin Duffy Image copyright PA
Image caption Andrew Passmore (middle) and Pc Kevin Duffy (right) were sacked in connection with the death of Bijan Ebrahimi (left)

An ex-police officer and a former PCSO have been jailed over their dealings with a disabled man who was later murdered in a vigilante attack.

Bijan Ebrahimi, 44, was killed in Bristol nearly three years ago amid false claims he was a paedophile.

PCSO Andrew Passmore, 56 and PC Kevin Duffy, 52 were convicted of misconduct in connection with the death and sacked by Avon and Somerset Police.

Duffy was jailed for 10 months and Passmore was jailed for four months.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Ebrahimi called police for help before his murder but was seen as a "nuisance", the court heard

Judge Neil Ford QC, the Recorder of Bristol, said it was with "a heavy heart" that he took the view that only a custodial sentence was appropriate.

"It doesn't seem to me a proper consequence of your wrongdoing that the sentences need be long," the judge said.

"You have already suffered greatly. You have already lost your careers and in each of your cases there is genuine justification for mercy.

"You must not bear the responsibilities for the wider failings in the police which were beyond your control."

'Liar and nuisance'

Iranian-born Mr Ebrahimi was beaten to death by a neighbour outside his flat in Capgrave Crescent, Brislington, and his body was set alight.

Lee James was convicted of his murder in 2013 and is serving a life sentence. Stephen Norley was sentenced to four years for assisting an offender.

Last year, a trial at Bristol Crown Court heard how Mr Ebrahimi repeatedly called police for help in the days before his murder.

The court was told Duffy regarded him as a "liar and a nuisance" and never went to see him, instead requesting Passmore conduct "a bit of a foot patrol" in the vicinity.

Image caption Mr Ebrahimi was killed outside his ground-floor flat on Capgrave Crescent in Brislington, Bristol

Four Avon and Somerset officers were accused of letting their dislike of Mr Ebrahimi influence their decision making.

Duffy and Passmore were convicted of misconduct in a public office while PCs Leanne Winter and Helen Harris were cleared.

The force said Duffy should have known Mr Ebrahimi was in danger but refused to speak to or visit him.

Timeline of Ebrahimi murder and misconduct trials

After sentencing, Avon and Somerset Police said it was "at the beginning" of a number of misconduct hearings and meetings involving 15 members of staff and officers".

"Our sole aim is to fully understand the circumstances around Mr Ebrahimi's treatment by our police officers and staff in the days leading up to his murder," a spokesman said.

The force paid tribute to Mr Ebrahimi's family who it said had "endured protracted legal and procedural processes" with dignity and composure.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is expected to publish its investigation findings after the conclusion of all the disciplinary matters.

Jan Williams, IPCC Commissioner, said the sentences handed down displayed the pair had "been properly held to account".

"Both were experienced in their roles and should have served Mr Ebrahimi far better in how they responded at a time when he was highly vulnerable," she added.

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