Three Metropolitan Police officers joked about sexually assaulting domestic violence victims in a WhatsApp group chat with killer cop Wayne Couzens, a court has heard.
In the chat they had joked about going on ‘pussy patrol’ and described part of west London as a ‘f****** Somalian s*** hole’.
PC Jonathan Cobban, 35, PC William Neville, 33 and ex-PC Joel Borders, 45, are all accused of sending ‘grossly offensive’ material on WhatsApp with the disgraced officer in 2019.
Couzens, a former parliamentary and diplomatic protection officer, was given a full life term last year for the kidnap, rape and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard.
Detectives investigating the case discovered the allegedly offensive material in a WhatsApp group on one of Couzens’ phones.
Edward Brown, QC, prosecuting, said: ‘The defendants were each a serving Police Officer at time and on occasion they were on duty at the time the messages were sent.’
Serving Metropolitan Police officer PC William Neville, 33, arrives at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today. He, along with two other people, is accused of sending offensive, indecent or obscene messages in a WhatsApp group chat
Serving Metropolitan Police officer Jonathon Cobban arrives at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today where he is charged with sharing ‘grossly offensive’ WhatsApp messages
The first message exchange, on 29 June 2019, was between Cobban and Borders.
Another, not charged, person writes: ‘Mate, they aren’t going to ditch you with your skills unless you finger a DV [domestic violence] victim’ to which Borders replies: ‘Oh John, in that case you’re probably f*****’.
Cobban writes: ‘That’s alright. DV victims love it. That’s why they’re repeat victims more often than not’ and Borders replies ‘No, they just don’t listen.’
The next exchange, on the same day, is also between Cobban and Borders.
Cobban describes his commute through Hounslow, west London, as ‘a f****** Somalian s*** hole’ and adds: ‘Great, there goes my pussy patrol – more like FGM [female genital mutilation] patrol.’
Borders replied: ‘Feltham is worse. I went there the other week and I felt like a spot on a domino’.
The message was followed by a series of emojis, showing a white-faced male surrounded by ‘brown faces of different hues’.
Later the same year, in August, Neville and Cobban discuss restraining a mentally ill 15-year-old girl.
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of (left to right) serving Metropolitan police officers Pc William Neville, and Jonathon Cobban, along with former police officer Joel Borders appearing in the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in March
Neville writes: ‘My first shift was third wheeling then the rest being an operator where the first call was on urgent assistance.
‘Pinned a 15-year-old girl going mental on the floor. I knew all the struggle snuggles would come in useful at some point.’
Another exchange, between Cobban and Borders, reads: ‘[Cobban]: She’ll look after you.
‘[Borders]: She will use me as an example; lead me on then get me locked up when I rape and beat her, sneaky b****.’
The fifth and final charge against Cobban refers to messages sent on 7 August 2019.
Neville explains he has ‘three domestics back-to-back today’ and Cobban replies: ‘I bet they all had one thing in common – women that don’t listen.’
Mr Brown said: ‘This must be seen in the context of and in combination with a need to uphold public confidence in the police – in itself a pressing need, or at the very least, the context within which to consider the comments.
‘Right thinking members of the public would be grossly offended; not just by the comments themselves but to know that it was serving police officers who discussed, amongst other serving police officers, their colleagues and the citizens they are supposed to serve in the terms used in these messages, often in an enthusiastic and encouraging manner with no dissent.’
Cobban, of Didcot, Oxfordshire, and Borders, of Preston, Lancashire, deny five counts each of sending by public communication network an offensive matter.
Neville, of Weybridge, Surrey, denies two identical charges.
The Crown Prosecution Service had initially granted the three men anonymity, citing ‘operational reasons’.
But following complaints from open justice campaigners, the CPS released the names into the public domain.
Mr Brown said: ‘The defendants were part of a WhatsApp group with the title “Bottle and Stoppers/Atkin’s puppets” along with four other officers.
‘It should be noted that from time to time the correspondents would message about work-related topics such as training [and] for advice.
The messages were shared in a group chat which Wayne Couzens (pictured) had been part of. Couzens would later go on to rape and murder Sarah Everard, and is currently serving a life sentence behind bars with no prospect of parole
‘It follows that this was a close-knit group of police officers…and there is no evidence that any of the defendants (or the other members of the group) ‘called out’ or challenged any of their co-defendants on receipt of what are said, by the prosecution, to be the offensive messages.
‘The prosecution case is that, at the time, each of the defendants was a serving police officer, training to, and employed to, protect and support the citizens of a very diverse city.
‘There were…not isolated incidents to which the co-correspondent did not somehow feel able to make objection.
‘Each defendant actively participated and chose to remain in the group.’
Referring specifically to Borders’ message about raping and beating a female colleague with whom he was about to train, Brown said: ‘The message is threatening and aggressive in its nature, we submit.
‘It is victim-blaming, derogatory to victims of rape and sexual violence and to women generally, such as the words “sneaky b****”.’
Then, referring to Cobban and Neville’s exchange about restraining a young girl, Brown said: ‘This, by Neville (but then supported in its sentiments by Cobban) implied to any right-minded observer that Neville enjoyed the need, whilst on duty, physically to restrain a very vulnerable and disturbed 15-year-old girl because he got pleasure from, or at least drew upon his experience of…with, I quote, a ”struggle snuggle”, and we submit that is acting out a rape-fantasy or other non-consensual physical touching.‘
During 2017, Cobban had volunteered as the Civil Nuclear Constabulary’s Race and Diversity Custodian, the court heard.
Mr Brown said the role required specialist knowledge and understanding.
Cobban was registered within an equalities consultative support network to provide social, moral and professional support to employees with protected characteristics.
All three men transferred to the Metropolitan Police Service in February 2019.
The trial continues.