Policeman and PCSO jailed for misconduct over vigilante murder of Bijan Ebrahimi


A police officer and a community support officer have been jailed for misconduct following the vigilante murder of a disabled man.

Pc Kevin Duffy, 52, and PCSO Andrew Passmore, 56, were found guilty of misconduct in a public office in connection with the death of Bijan Ebrahimi in Bristol in 2013.

Mr Ebrahimi, 44, was beaten to death and his body set on fire by neighbour Lee James, who wrongly believed he was a paedophile.

Bristol Crown Court heard that Duffy saw Mr Ebrahimi as a liar and a nuisance despite the dangerous situation he was in.

The officer refused to speak to the Iranian refugee despite his repeated pleas in the days leading up to the murder.

Passmore was found to have lied by telling murder detectives he had patrolled outside Mr Ebrahimi's home for an hour when it had actually been a few minutes.

Avon and Somerset Police dismissed Duffy and Passmore following misconduct hearings in January.

Judge Neil Ford QC, the Recorder of Bristol, jailed Duffy for 10 months and Passmore to four months.

During their seven-week trial, jurors heard how Mr Ebrahimi dialled 999 to report that James had come into his flat and headbutted him on July 11.

James wrongly believed that Mr Ebrahimi had filmed his young children.

He had actually been gathering evidence of anti-social behaviour.

Police arrived at the scene, Capgrave Crescent in Brislington, to find James crying with anger and frothing at the mouth.

A mob had formed outside and James was heard shouting: "Paedo! I'm going to f****** kill you."

Instead of dealing with James, Mr Ebrahimi was arrested for breaching the peace. As he was led away, the crowd cheered and shouted "paedophile".

He was released from custody the following day, July 12, and made 12 calls to police non-emergency number 101.

Mr Ebrahimi was informed that Duffy, his local beat manager, would visit but the officer refused to speak to him.

"My life is in danger. Right now a few of my neighbours are outside and shouting and calling me a paedophile. I need to see Pc Duffy," Mr Ebrahimi told one operator.

Duffy told a supervisor: "He should be told in no uncertain terms that I will speak to him at my convenience. It's Mr Bijan Ebrahimi. He's well known to me and I won't be taking any calls from him."

He asked Passmore to conduct a "bit of a foot patrol" around Capgrave Crescent at about 8.40pm.

Passmore later told murder detectives that he had spent 40 minutes on foot patrol on the estate and a further 20 minutes on the adjoining streets.

The jury convicted him of lying about this, accepting the prosecution's allegation that he simply drove up and down in his police car for just two to three minutes.

On July 13, Mr Ebrahimi tried to contact Duffy and a colleague, Pc Leanne Winter. He phoned police at 00.14am on July 14 - about an hour before his murder.

Witnesses saw James repeatedly stamp on Mr Ebrahimi's head before setting him alight at 1.35am with neighbour Stephen Norley.

A post-mortem examination found Mr Ebrahimi, who suffered from depression, died before he was set alight.

James was jailed for life for the murder, while Norley was sentenced to four years in prison for assisting an offender.

Duffy and Passmore were two of 18 officers and staff facing misconduct proceedings within the force.

Pcs Leanne Winter, 38, and Helen Harris, 40, were acquitted of misconduct in a public office during the same trial as Duffy and Passmore.

The IPCC is expected to publish its investigation findings into Mr Ebrahimi's death at the conclusion of all disciplinary proceedings.