Police officer who downloaded porn on grieving family’s TV account after boy’s death is jailed

Police officer who downloaded porn on grieving family’s TV account after boy’s death is jailed

Avi Maharaj admitted to downloading four adult films while waiting for undertaker

Samuel Osborne@SamuelOsborne93
Friday 06 September 2019 16:04

A police officer who used a grieving father’s TV account to download pornography has been jailed for 12 months.

Avi Maharaj paid for four adult films at the home in south London after the death of a 14-year-old boy whose body was found at the address in February 2018.

His actions led the father to believe his son had been accessing pornography before his death, Southwark Crown Court heard.

PC Maharaj, who was based in Earlsfield with London’s Metropolitan Police, was supposed to be guarding the house at the time and waiting for the undertaker to take the body away.

But as he waited, he used the family’s Virgin Media account to download pornography worth £25.96.

He then falsified his attendance logs, claiming he left the property almost two hours earlier than he really did as part of a bid to cover up his actions.

Sentencing Maharaj, Judge Deborah Taylor said: “All right-thinking people would be appalled by your gross lack of decency and respect in indulging yourself at all in those circumstances.”

In a letter, the boy’s father, Graham Miller, said Maharaj’s actions had initially “upset” his image of his son.

It “made me feel like I didn’t know my own son”, he added.

He only realised his son was not responsible for the downloads when he contacted Virgin Media and was told what time the clips were downloaded.

Prosecutor Gregor McKinley said data from Virgin Media showed four adult films were downloaded between 11pm and 11.42pm, costing £6.49 each.

Mr McKinley said Maharaj claimed he left the premises at 11.58pm but the police vehicle remained parked outside the address until 1.44am.

Maharaj, who was based in Earlsfield, Wandsworth, initially denied the allegations when interviewed by police, the court heard.

“He provided officers with a prepared statement in which he denied the allegation and questioned security of the premises,” Mr McKinley said. “He said the backdoor to the premises was insecure.”

But he nonetheless pleaded guilty to fraud by misrepresentation at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 16 July.

Edmund Gritt, mitigating, said the defendant “expressed his wholly ashamed apologies to the Miller family”.

He said: “He acknowledges his conduct was abject and without any thought to possible consequences, There was a press report in Evening Standard that said Mr Miller had forgiven Mr Maharaj. He said he feels honoured by that but also disgusted with himself in the face of that forgiveness.”

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The court heard Maharaj’s guilty plea will “terminate” his police career “forever”.

Mr Gritt said there will be a special case hearing on 9 September and it was “inevitable” he will be dismissed.

Judge Taylor sentenced Maharaj to 12 months in prison.

Speaking when Maharaj was convicted in July, Independent Office for Police Conduct regional director Sal Naseem said: “PC Maharaj’s behaviour was shocking and even more so given he was guarding the property in the absence of the homeowner. Not only were his actions deceitful but he caused considerable distress for the family involved who were dealing with the sudden death of a family member.

“I am sorry that the family involved had to deal with this while also coping with the tragic loss of their child.”

Additional reporting by Press Association