A former Metropolitan police officer, who went rogue in the on-and-off investigation of Wayne Couzens, has been found guilty of gross misconduct, according to a police disciplinary hearing.
Policewoman calling herself “Naughty Officer” on her OnlyFans account was found to have failed to do “the right investigative inquiries” in two incidents when then-Met Police Officer Wayne Couzens exposed himself to female staff members at a McDonald’s Restaurant in Swanley, Kent on February 14 and 27, 2021.
Samantha Lee, 29, attended the restaurant on March 3 and interviewed manager Sam Taylor, just hours before Sarah Everard was abducted by Couzens in Clapham, south-west London.
The former officer was found to have lied about her actions when later questioned about the interview, claiming that she believed the restaurant’s security cameras were automatically removed so there would be no footage of Couzens or the crime.
The hearing panel determined that this dishonesty amounted to gross misconduct, and that if Ms. Lee had still been a serving officer, she would have been dismissed from the force.
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In his testimony, Mr Taylor said that he had shown Ms Lee CCTV footage and told her that she could download it onto a USB stick. Ms Lee denied that this was the case, saying that he had told her that there was no CCTV.
Panel chairman Darren Snow said: “We found Taylor to be a credible witness and his evidence was clear.” He added that it would have been “inconceivable” for him not to have shown him the CCTV evidence.
The panel found that Ms. Lee had been driven to dishonesty by the “pressure” of the investigation. Responding to the situation, Snow added: “We have some understanding of this situation, a relatively straightforward exposure became a subject of immense pressure.”
In her testimony, Ms Lee admitted she made some mistakes, but said nothing she could have done “would have changed the tragic outcome” of what happened to Sarah Everard later that day.
The former police officer said: “I accept that I could have done more around CCTV and evidence collection, that was a mistake on my part.”
She added: “And as much as I’ve thought about it over and over again, I don’t think anything I could have done would have changed the tragic outcome of what happened later that day.”
In March of this year, Couzens was sentenced to 19 months in prison after admitting to three counts of indecent exposure.
He was already serving a life sentence behind bars for kidnapping Ms Everard as she walked home to Clapham, south London, in March 2021 and then murdering her.