Sixteen people from a single police force face criminal and disciplinary charges after the cries for help from a disabled man wrongly accused of paedophilia and killed by a drunken vigilante were allegedly ignored in the days before his murder.
Three police officers and a community support officer from Avon and Somerset police face a criminal trial next year for misconduct in public office over Bijan Ebrahimi’s killing in July 2013.
Twelve others face disciplinary hearings in what is thought to be the largest number of police officers and staff facing sanction from a single incident investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
Iranian-born Mr Ebrahimi had repeatedly complained of bullying at his Bristol home but was arrested after he was wrongly accused of being a paedophile after he started filming neighbours’ anti-social behaviour to bolster his case for a move.
Following Mr Ebrahimi’s release after questioning, neighbour Lee James repeatedly stamped on his head and dragged the body 100 yards to set it alight. He was sentenced to life in prison and a neighbour, Stephen Norley, was jailed for four years after he helped to drag the body away.
The three police constables – Kevin Duffy, Helen Harris and Leanne Winter – were charged with misconduct in public office for “allegedly failing to respond to allegations and calls for help from Ebrahimi”, the Crown Prosecution Service said yesterday.
A police community support officer, Andrew Passmore, faced the same charge after falsely telling a 999 operator that he was outside Mr Ebrahimi’s home at an important time, the CPS said. He is also accused of perverting the course of justice. The officers are due in court next month.
Mr Ebrahimi’s family said: “We are relieved by this decision and trust the officers will now face the full rigour of the law.”
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