Two police officers have lost their jobs after they were caught saying they hoped a vulnerable teen “got raped” – on the boy’s mother’s answer machine.
PC Samuel Dexter and PC Hannah Mayo did not realise their shocking conversation was being caught on voicemail.
The officers had driven over to the family’s house after receiving a phone call from the 14-year-old’s mother.
PC Dexter had previously attended the address earlier that same evening, when the boy’s mother had phoned the police to report her “vulnerable” son missing.
The boy had subsequently been found by his older sister, who lived nearby – but had run off again when PC Dexter pulled up, prompting another search for him.
And when the officer was called back to the address later that night, he vented his frustration to accompanying constable Hannah Mayo.
He told her he wished he had said to the boy, ‘I hope you get raped’. PC Mayo then responded: “Yes, butt raped”.
Both officers were heard laughing on the two-minute recording, which ended as they pulled up outside the boy’s house.
But they were unaware that somehow the conversation had been recorded on the lad’s mum”s answer phone.
PCs Dexter, 36, and Mayo, 32, appeared yesterday (Tues) before a misconduct hearing at Avon and Somerset Police Headquarters in Portishead, Bristol.
Both had previously readily admitted to gross misconduct in relation to the incident in September this year.
Mark Loker and Peter Land of the Police Federation, representing PC Dexter and PC Mayo respectively, told Chief Constable Andy Marsh that the two constables were both exemplary officers.
They said both officers expressed absolute and genuine remorse for the comments they had made, which were highly out of character for both.
But Chief Constable Marsh said that he could not accept that their comments were a mistake – and dismissed both officers without notice.
The hearing was told that on the evening of the incident in September, the 14-year-old boy’s mother had reported her son missing.
She had told PC Dexter that the boy was vulnerable, as he suffered from ADHD and was a cannabis user.
After spending the evening driving the streets searching for the boy and returning him safely to his mother’s house, PC Dexter returned to police headquarters.
But 45 minutes later he received another phonecall from the boy’s mother, saying her son was “kicking off” and causing trouble after she had taken his drugs bong away.
He returned to the address, this time accompanied by PC Mayo, and on the way over tried to phone the boy’s mother, with no answer.
PC Dexter began venting his frustration to PC Mayo, saying: “I have no interest whatsoever.
“He seemed to be relishing in the fact that I had been driving around aimlessly looking for him.
“I felt like saying to him, ‘Whatever, you little s**t, I don’t give a f***. I hope you get raped.'”
PC Mayo then responded: “Yes, and butt raped.”
PC Dexter also made comments about the boy’s sister, whom he had seen urinating behind a shop while they had been searching for the boy, calling her “a funny one”.
He said that he then heard a beep in his ear as he pulled up outside the boy’s house, and told PC Mayo he thought their conversation may have been caught on answerphone.
Neither officer made mention of the recording when they entered the house, but the answerphone message was later picked up by the boy’s mother and sister, who made a complaint.
Defending themselves before the hearing, an emotional PC Dexter and PC Mayo both said they were filled with remorse over their comments, and “felt sick” hearing them.
Father-of-five PC Dexter, a private foster carer for foreign year-abroad students, said: “I still to this day can’t believe it was me who said those things.
“I am absolutely mortified. It’s not who I am. I am deeply sorry for the comments I made – I never intended the upset caused to the family.
“I can only put it down to the stress and frustration of the incident – although that is not a validation, and I should never have expressed them in that way.”
PC Mayo added: “I have thought about this incident every day since. I’m so disappointed in myself.
“It makes you question yourself – you’re supposed to be in a position of trust, and to do something so stupid that’s had such an impact on the family is a horrible thing.
“I feel absolutely gutted. It makes you feel like you’ve let everybody down.”
Summarising events on behalf of the officers, Mr Loker described their comments as “a coping mechanism in very poor taste”.
He said: “It’s easy to see how abhorrent this dark humour was, but sometimes too much stress can affect an individual.
“I believe this was Sam’s emotional survival technique under a great deal of stress.
“I am not looking to excuse this dark humour. These officers are not finding anything funny about this, they never have done and never will do.
“But until you have walked in their shoes and been subjected to their stresses, we are wholly unenlightened as to their coping mechanisms at the time.”
Mr Loker added: “What is really important is that this wasn’t meant to be. There was no intent, no malice.
“These officers are good cops, but they are good cops who have made a very grave error in judgement.”
However, Chief Constable Marsh gave the verdict that the comments of the officers went “way beyond the boundaries” of dark humour.
He said: “These comments were about a vulnerable child who was displaying acute risk factors.
“The public will be outraged that such comments were made by police officers.
“My conclusion is that PC Dexter and PC Mayo should be dismissed without notice. I am sorry to have to give you this conclusion, but that is what it must be.”