Sunday, November 15, 2015

Police officer 'rejected call for help from disabled man before he was burned to death by his neighbours' because she was 'stuffing her face with POT NOODLE'

A police officer rejected a call for help from a disabled man who was later beaten and burned to death by his neighbours because she was 'stuffing her face' with a Pot Noodle, a court has heard.

Bijan Ebrahimi, 44, who was falsely branded a paedophile by a gang of neighbours, contacted police to report that there was a 'mob' of vigilantes outside his home in Brislington, Bristol.

But PC Leanne Winter - who had previously had contact with the victim - dismissed the call and asked the operator to tell terrified Mr Ebrahimi that she was 'busy' at a job, the jury was told.

In reality, the officer of nine years was allegedly sat in Broadbury Road police station - situated just three-and-a-half miles away from Mr Ebrahimi's home - tucking into an instant noodle snack.

Lee James, 24, beat up the man - whom he wrongly believed had been filming his daughters for sexual motives - before setting him alight and leaving him to die on some grass outside his flat.

James later pleaded guilty to murder and was jailed for life over the killing, while neighbor Stephen Norley - who had helped him set Mr Ebrahimi on fire - was sentenced to four years in prison.

This week, Bristol Crown Court heard how Mr Ebrahimi had frantically called the police, prompting the male operator to contact the local police station and ask to be put through to PC Winter, 38.

The operator - who was not identified - was allegedly told by one of the officer's colleagues: 'Leanne Winter is sat just opposite me stuffing her face with a Pot Noodle at the moment.'

PC Winter refused to speak with 'vulnerable' Mr Ebrahimi, the court heard

'I don't want to speak to him. Not at all. Tell him police will be with him when they can get there,' she apparently said. 'Tell him I am busy at a job and it won't particularly be me coming.'

PC Winter denies misconduct in a public office.

She has been charged in the case alongside colleagues PC Kevin Duffy, 52, PCSO Andrew Passmore, 55, and PC Helen Harris, 40.

Mr Ebrahimi had previously been visited by PC Winter and PC Harris after calling police on July 11, 2013, to report that James had beaten him up over the false belief he was a paedophile.

When the experienced officers arrived, one noted James was so angry he was 'foaming at the mouth' and bragged he would 'do time' to protect his children, the court heard.

The 26-year-old father mistakenly thought that Mr Ebrahimi, an immigrant, was filming children  for sexual reasons - but actually he was gathering evidence of alleged antisocial behaviour.

Despite viewing footage of James barging in Mr Ebrahimi's flat, the two officers arrested the victim in front of a 'vigilante crowd', it was said.

Mr Ebrahimi was released without charge on the morning of July 12 and driven home by PC Henrietta Staveley-Brown.

The victim made 12 further calls to police, hoping to speak to beat officer PC Duffy, whom he had been told would visit him later that day to log the assault, the court heard.

But although he was asked to investigate, Duffy allegedly said he was 'busy' because he 'disliked' Mr Ebrahimi and 'never found the time'.

Instead he sent PCSO Passmore, who despite claiming he spent an hour patrolling the area, actually stayed for 'three to four minutes', jurors were told.

By 2pm, Mr Ebrahimi had not heard anything from beat manager Duffy, so he started calling the non-emergency police 101 number to try and speak with him, it was said.

At 7.30pm, he then desperately asked to be put through to PC Staveley-Brown. However, the operator made a mistake and instead thought he wanted to speak with PC Winter.

But she allegedly ignored his call and said she was 'busy' - despite tucking into a Pot Noodle.

According to a statement made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission in September 2013, that was read out in court this week, PC Winters said she was 'preparing an interview plan while waiting for a solicitor to arrive at the police station' at the time of Mr Ebrahimi's panicked call.

She said she didn't know why the victim wanted to speak with her.

And she even said she 'wasn't aware' Mr Ebrahimi knew her name, the jury heard.

But when Mr Ebrahimi was told PC Winter was not available, he reportedly got upset and said: 'What's going on? Your colleague told me forty minutes ago he is coming as soon as he can. 'I can't even open the door. What shall I do?'

Despite further calls to the police, Mr Ebrahimi was brutally murdered at 1am on July 14 on the green outside his flat. James punched and kicked him until he lost consciousness. Seconds later, he and Norley, 25, set the victim's body on fire.

Norley was charged with assisting an offender for his role in the murder.

The trial - which is expected to last up to six weeks - continues.

Original report here

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