Met Police officers guilty of sharing ‘grossly offensive’ messages in WhatsApp group with Sarah Everard killer

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Joel Borders and Jonathon Cobban had joked about beating and sexually assaulting women, raping a colleague, and using taser weapons on children and disabled people, the court heard.

A serving Metropolitan Police officer and a former constable have been found guilty of sending grossly offensive misogynistic and racist messages in a group chat with Wayne Couzens.

William Neville, 34, Jonathon Cobban, 35, and former Pc Joel Borders, 45, were members of ‘Bottle and Stoppers’, a Whatsapp group chat which was discovered after Couzens was arrested for kidnapping, raping and murdering Sarah Everard in March 2021.

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Neville has been cleared of sending “grossly offensive messages,” but his two colleagues were today [21 September] convicted of what a judge described as “sickening” and “abhorrent” behaviour following a trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in July.

Joel Borders (left) and Jonathon Cobban (right) have been found guilty of sending “grossly offensive” messages. Credit: PAJoel Borders (left) and Jonathon Cobban (right) have been found guilty of sending “grossly offensive” messages. Credit: PA
Joel Borders (left) and Jonathon Cobban (right) have been found guilty of sending “grossly offensive” messages. Credit: PA | PA

In an exchange on 5 April 2019, Borders wrote: “I can’t wait to get on guns so I can shoot some c*** in the face!”

Cobban responded: “Me too. I want to taser a cat and a dog to see which reacts better. I think the cat will get more pissed off and the dog will shit. I wanna test this theory. Same with children. Zap zap you little f******.”

Borders replied suggesting adding “downys” to the list - a term the prosecution said referred to people with Down’s Syndrome.

The pair claimed the exchanges were “banter”.

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On 25 April 2019, Borders spoke of “raping” and “beating” a female police officer, referring to her as a “sneaky b***h”, before on 9 August 2019, talking about pinning a 15-year-old girl to the floor during an incident. He described this as “struggle snuggles”.

Judge Sarah Turnock said the language used was “misogynistic and aggressive in its nature and is a clear example of victim blaming”.

Delivering her verdict at City of London Magistrates’ Court, Judge Turnock also commented that it was “abhorrent” that Borders “demonstrates an ableist attitude by adding a disabled person to Cobban’s disgusting list of victims”.

She added: “I can honestly say that I consider it to be sickening to think of a police officer joking about using firearms in this way.”

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Borders reportedly kept his eyes fixed on the ceiling as the judgement was delivered and Cobban remained expressionless throughout.

The pair will be sentenced at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 2 November. Neville smiled as he was cleared of both counts against him.

All three men were formerly officers in the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and transferred to the Metropolitan Police on the same date - 11 February 2019.

Cobban and Neville remain in the Metropolitan Police, while Borders has left the force. The force said it would start misconduct proceedings.

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Met Commander Jon Savell said: “The behaviour of these officers is despicable and I condemn them for sending such grossly offensive and repulsive messages. It is staggering that they regard this language as defensible.

“We expect our officers to have the highest standards of conduct. We are determined to rid this organisation of those who corrupt its integrity, and are increasing our efforts to do that more quickly. As a result, we may well see more cases emerging, as we leave no stone unturned in tackling offensive behaviour. I am deeply sorry these officers have let down the public, and their Met colleagues.”