Mother of man whose dead body was videoed and shared by ex-police officer brands them “disgrace to humanity”

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The mother of a man whose dead body was videoed and shared by a ex-police officer with two colleagues has branded them, “a disgrace to humanity”.

Cameron Hanson, 33, was a serving officer at Lancashire Constabulary when he attended an address in October 2021 and found the body of 45-year-old James O’Hara. Hanson recorded the discovery at the property in Barrowford on his body-worn video, but minutes after he left he sent his wife, police civilian worker Kirstie Hanson, 33, audio messages about the incident and used his personal phone to take videos of Mr O’Hara.

The following morning Kirstie Hanson asked fellow civilian worker Charlotte Riley, 30, if she wanted “to see video from a murder”, Manchester Crown Court heard. Riley replied: “Yeh, of course I do,” and Kirstie Hanson sent her the footage with the message: “Don’t show anyone that, I’ll get in ****.”

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Two days later, Kirstie Hanson approached two other colleagues and showed them her husband’s recording of the body. They reported the matter to their superiors and an inquiry was launched.

Yesterday former Ribble Valley response officer Cameron Hanson, of Oswaldwistle, was jailed for 32 months, Kirstie Hanson, of Oswaldwistle, was jailed for 18 months, and Riley, of Burnley, received a 12-month sentence suspended for two years.

All three defendants pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office, while the Hansons also admitted unauthorised access to a computer. Kirstie Hanson and Riley also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to secure access to computer material.

Cameron Lee Hanson and Kirstie Hanson (Credit: Lancashire Police)Cameron Lee Hanson and Kirstie Hanson (Credit: Lancashire Police)
Cameron Lee Hanson and Kirstie Hanson (Credit: Lancashire Police) | Lancashire Police

Mr O’Hara’s mother Janice told the court: “I can’t comprehend why anyone, let alone a serving police officer, could carry out such an atrocity. Jay was our son and a brother, a funny, charismatic character, a beautiful human being, who PC Hanson and others have so cruelly and thoughtlessly degraded.

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"They have stripped our son of the dignity he deserved in death, it dehumanised him, all for some morbid curiosity or some form of warped bragging rights. The profession requires personnel with honesty, integrity, compassion and respect, and PC Hanson and his colleagues showed none of those values to us or to our son.

“They are a disgrace to the police force but more importantly a disgrace to humanity.”

James O'Hara, 45, was found dead at a house in BarrowfordJames O'Hara, 45, was found dead at a house in Barrowford
James O'Hara, 45, was found dead at a house in Barrowford | Lancs Police

Judge Nicholas Dean KC, the Honorary Recorder of Manchester, told the defendants: ” We have heard the moving statement of Mrs O’Hara. Hearing her I hope you felt the deep sense of shame that you ought to feel.

“This is a shocking and disturbing case. Shocking and disturbing for what it might tell us about the culture that appears to have existed for a period of time at least within Lancashire Police. It is hard to know how much more widespread this sort of activity was but it seems to me to be clear, in part because of the casual way you shared information, that this was not something that was necessarily unusual in your workplace.

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“You were all subjected to some rules. Rules relating to the obtaining and dissemination of information but above all rules of basic decency. You disregarded those formal rules and the rules of basic decency. You, Cameron Hanson and Kirstie Hanson, indulged in a course of conduct extending over a significant period of time.

“You showed no sign in your messaging of any compassion for the people you spoke about or the victims whose photographs you took and distributed. On the contrary sometimes you made positive fun of people who were vulnerable and in physical distress.”

The various offences took place between January 2019 and November 2021, the court heard. Among the offences were two counts of unauthorised access to the police computer log by Cameron Hanson to an ex-partner, one of which in February 2020 involved the discovery of a body in a canal.

The ex-partner messaged him: “Are you at work? Fill me in on the body in the lock” and an off-duty Hanson replied: “lmao (laughing my ass off) I’ll have a gander when I’m in later ha ha.”

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In January 2021, Hanson sent his wife a phone recording of body worn video taken by him when he used Pava incapacitant spray on an individual known to have mental health difficulties. He messaged her: “Two arrests, both fights. Pavad a mental health patient lol.”

Kirstie Hanson replied with a laughing emoji and wrote: “Thought you weren’t allowed to pava them.”

Camerson Hanson said: “Tis questionable but justified in this case ha ha.”

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In June 2021, Cameron Hanson attended an incident where a male was sectioned under the Mental Health Act who he made an audio recording of. He texted his wife: “On an ambulance with a nutter. This guy is crazy. Big Mother F***er.

“Having to stand over him whilst he’s cuffed and strapped in cause he so aggressive. Don’t know if you can hear him. Chunnering on about Jesus and his grandma being the Queen.”

Kirstie Hanson replied: “What a weirdo.”

Cameron Hanson then messaged: “Turns out this guy has ptsd from abandonment issues after his dad left his family.”

In August 2021, Cameron Hanson was assaulted in a fracas and during the altercation struck a man over the head with some handcuffs, the court heard. He then took photographs on his phone of the injuries the man sustained which Kirstie Hanson then forwarded on to Riley.

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Riley texted Kirstie Hanson: “Jesus Christ. Go on Cam lad.” Kirstie Hanson replied: “Made a mess didn’t he.” Riley responded: “Well that’s what you get innit. What a f***ing muppet that guy is.”

In October 2021, Cameron Hanson messaged his wife after he attended a report of a sexual offence and also gave her the location. He wrote: “Rape. Some guy got through a window and raped a woman while her husband sat crying like a little bitch.”

David James, representing Cameron Hanson, said his client wanted to apologise to his victims and their families. He added: “He was emotionally ill-suited to such a difficult and stressful job.”

Patrick Cassidy, for Kirstie Hanson, said she was “deeply ashamed” and had since undertaken a university course on law and ethics as a “manifestation of her reflective state of mind in order to learn”.

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Judge Dean remarked: “It does not require a course in law and ethics to understand that distributing material relating to vulnerable and dead individuals is wrong.”

Patrick Williamson, defending Riley, said she too was ashamed and added: “Her family are frankly horrified and annoyed at her behaviour.”