They didn't realise the attempt at "dark humour" was being recorded by the mother's answerphone machine.
Police – neither of which are the officers in this case – in Bristol city centre. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Archive/PA Images
Avon and Somerset force have dismissed two police officers after they were caught on a voicemail recording saying they hoped that a vulnerable teenager "got raped".
PCs Samuel Dexter, 36, and Hannah Mayo, 32, were discussing a 14-year-old – who suffers from ADHD and is known to use cannabis – after being called out to his house when his mother reported him missing. Dexter, who was on his way to the house for the second time that evening, made the comments while trying to phone the boy’s mother, not realising he was being recorded by her answerphone machine.
In conversation with Mayo, he said, "I have no interest whatsoever. He [the boy] 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 shit, I don’t give a fuck. I hope you get raped,'" To which Mayo responded: "Yes, and butt raped." At this point, the pair were heard to laugh, and the conversation ended as they arrived at the house.
During a misconduct hearing at the force’s headquarters in Portishead, near Bristol, Dexter told the jury he heard a beep in his ear as they pulled up, at which point he warned his colleague he thought their conversation might have been recorded. They didn’t mention it when they entered the house.
Dexter, a private foster carer with five children, said: "I still to this day can’t believe it was me who said those things. 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."
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."
Mark Loker, of the police federation, who was representing Dexter, defended the comments as highly out of character, citing them as "dark humour" and "a coping mechanism in very poor taste". Chief constable Andy Marsh saw the situation differently, dismissing them both without notice.