A police control-room worker has admitted a misconduct charge when he used his own mobile phone to take a picture of the body of a dead teenager who had been by a train. Ex-British Transport Police employee Joshua Tilt then shared the image via WhatsApp in a group and will face sentencing in December.
He pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office by photographing a computer screen that showed an image of 18-year-old RAF Cadet Lewis Williams. Police worker Tilt, of Lye Close Lane, Bartley Green, Birmingham, was granted unconditional bail at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday but he is likely to face a custodial sentence.
The 31-year-old admitted the charge which alleged that he wilfully misconducted himself by taking a picture of a photo, which he had access to, and chose to share it with other people with "no legitimate purpose for viewing or possessing it".
The victim, Lewis Williams, was described by his family as "popular, funny and kind" and was diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder before his death in Slough, Berkshire, in June. His parents were present in court to hear Tilt enter his guilty plea during his 15-minute hearing.
The teenager’s father Paul has previously told how the family were informed on July 2 that British Transport Police had launched an investigation into a member of the force’s staff.
Mr Williams, of Slough, said he was told someone had "gained access to the police aftermath scene photos, chosen a photo of his (Lewis’s) dismembered body and then shared the image in a WhatsApp chat group with 14 others". Mr Williams said. "I immediately felt sick,”
Adjourning sentence on Tilt, Judge Paul Farrer KC told him: "You have pleaded guilty to what on any view is a serious offence involving gross misconduct in the course of your employment. You have heard me indicate to your counsel that the likely sentence is one of imprisonment.
"Nonetheless, the court will benefit from having more information about you before ultimately deciding upon the nature and length of your sentence. I enlarge your bail. In doing so I give you no guarantee whatsoever as to what the eventual sentence will be.”
Tilt, who left court without comment, will be sentenced on December 14.