A policewoman who described herself as ‘officer naughty’ committed gross misconduct by lying to Wayne Cougens about her investigations into two incidents of flashing, a disciplinary panel found today.
PC Samantha Lee, 29, failed to make ‘proper investigative enquiries’ for two incidents on February 14 and 27, 2021, when Coozen exposed himself to female members of staff at a McDonald’s restaurant in Swanley, Kent.
Ms Lee attended the restaurant on March 3 and interviewed manager Sam Taylor, hours before Sarah Everard was abducted, raped and murdered by a Met firearms officer.
Lee was also found to have lied about his actions when questioned in a later interview, claiming he believed the restaurant’s CCTV had been automatically erased so there would be no footage of Kuzen or the crime.
PC Samantha Lee was asked to go to a McDonald’s drive-thru in Swanley, Kent, on March 3, 2021, after two women were caught flashing on Cousins CCTV.
Lee outside the Palestra House in Southwark, south London, during a disciplinary hearing earlier this month
Lee, pictured in uniform, was criticized for handling a flashy accusation against Wayne Cougens
Lee told the misconduct hearing that he did not know he was in charge of the case and went on leave after the inspection, assuming someone else would look into it further ‘in a few days’.
He told the hearing that after Ms Everard’s murder he was ‘devastated’ to learn he had been tasked with investigating Couzens’ previous offences.
And he denied laziness, accusing him of carrying out ‘a woefully poor and rushed investigation’, failing to acquire CCTV and spending just 15 minutes in the restaurant.
But panel chairman Darren Snow found his dishonesty amounted to gross misconduct, and if Lee was still a serving officer, he would have been dismissed from the force.
In his evidence, Mr Taylor said he showed Ms Lee the CCTV footage and told her it could be downloaded onto a USB stick.
He also said he explained to her that Couzens’ registration plate could be seen on CCTV footage of the second incident.
For her part, Ms Lee denied the incident, saying she told him there was no CCTV.
Lee left the force and set up an OnlyFans site called Officer Naughty
In March this year, Couzens was sentenced to 19 months in prison after admitting three counts of indecent exposure
Couzens was a Met officer when Sarah Everard was kidnapped and killed
Mr Snow, reading the panel’s findings, found Mr Taylor was a ‘credible’ witness.
‘We find Sam Taylor a credible witness and his evidence was clear.’
He added: ‘We find it inconceivable that he would not have shown her the CCTV evidence.’
Instead, the panel found that Ms Lee was driven to dishonesty by the ‘pressure’ of the investigation.
‘We have some understanding of this situation, a relatively straightforward exposure turned into a huge stressor,’ he said.
In her evidence, Ms Lee admitted she had done something wrong but said there was nothing she could have done ‘that would have changed the tragic outcome of what happened to Sarah Everard later that day’.
‘I accept that I could have done more around CCTV and evidence gathering, it was an error on my part and I accept that,’ he said.
‘And as much as I’ve thought about it over and over, I don’t believe that anything I could have done would have changed the tragic outcome of what happened later that day.’
CCTV shows Cousins making two trips to a McDonald’s drive-thru in Swanley, Kent
Cousins is seen placing an order at McDonald’s while returning home after a 12-hour shift with the Met.
As Couzens collected his food and drinks, he revealed himself to the restaurant staff
A McDonald’s drive-thru in Swanley, Kent, where Coozen flashed staff in February 2021
In March this year, Couzens was sentenced to 19 months in prison after admitting three counts of indecent exposure.
He was already serving life behind bars for abducting Ms Everard as she walked home through Clapham, south London, on 3 March 2021 and then killing her.
A third incident of indecent exposure related to when Kuzen exposed himself to a female cyclist on a country lane in Kent in November 2020.
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