Metropolitan Police officers accused of sharing “grossly offensive” messages with killer PC Wayne Couzens swapped rape and gun fantasies, racist jokes, and homophobic abuse on a WhatsApp group, a court heard.
PC Jonathan Cobban, 35, PC William Neville, 34, and Joel Borders, 45, face claims they sent “indecent, obscene, and menacing” messages, including at times when they were on duty.
In messages aired at their trial at Westminster magistrates court, Cobban allegedly likened driving through Hounslow in west London to “FGM patrol”, said he was “hoping to get into a fight” to prove himself, and discussed a violent fantasy, it is said.
“I can’t wait to get on guns so I can shoot some c*** in the face”, Borders allegedly wrote/
Cobban is said to have replied: “Me too. I want to taser a cat and a dog to see which reacts better. I think the cat wil get more pissed off and the dog will sh*t it.
“I wanna test this theory. Same with children. Zap zap you little f***ers.”
Borders then allegedly replied: “And a couple of downys?”, believed to be a reference to people with Downs Syndrome.
The PC is alleged to have said about a female Met colleague: “Lead me on then get me locked up when I rape and beat her! Sneaky b*tch.”
Neville is accused of refering to “struggle snuggles” when describing having “pinned a 15-year-old girl going mental on the floor”, to which Cobban replied: “Haha struggle snuggles are always useful…good skills!”
Prosecutor Edward Brown QC told the court: “The defendants were all serving police officers when the messages were sent. On occasion, they were on duty at the time these messages were sent.”
In June 21, 2019, an unnamed officer wrote: “Mate they aren’t gonna ditch you with your skill set unless you finger a DV victim.”
Cobban then allegedly replied: “That’s alright, DV victims love it… that’s why they are repeat victims more often than not.”
Eight days later, Cobban is accused of writing: “Got a bus through Hounslow … what a f***ing Somali sh*t hole. Great. There goes pussy patrol… more like fgm patrol.”
Borders is said to have written back: “Feltham is worse! I went there the other week and I felt like a spot on a domino!”, with a series of emojis.
When another officer commented “Filthy Feltham”, Cobban allegedly wrote: “Walking through to hounslow central, it was like walking along a dulux colour code.
“Not even the shops were in English.”
Borders allegedly said: “Yeah, all shades of brown?!”, and Cobban replied: “Yep and I think I was one yellow. But he was lost cos he asked me for directions.
He added: “Hounslow twinned with Bradford”, and Borders commented: “You know when it’s getting near to the end of night shift in Hounslow because you can hear the call to prayer.”
On August 9, Borders allegedly wrote: “Lucky bastard! I bet I get paired up with the only gay on section!”
Cobban is then said to have replied: “Oh yeah I dealt with one of those, hospital guard for some attention seeking self harming fag.”
In another exchange, Cobban is to have written: “That’s good mate. I’m hoping to get a fight or something to prove myself. This week mainly been doing arrest inquiries and shut like that. Hospital guard.
Nevile allegedly replied: “That’s sh*t. My first shift was third wheeling, then rest I’ve been an operator, where my first call was an urgent assistant, pinned a 15-year-old girl going mental on the floor. I knew all the struggle snuggles would come in useful at some point.
Cobban is accused of saying: “Haha struggle snuggles are always useful…good skills!”
In a discussion on April 5, 2019, Borders allgedly said: “I can’t wait to get on guns so I can shoot some c*** in the face.”
Cobban is said to have replied: “Me too. I want to taser a cat and a dog to see which reacts better. I think the cat wil get more pissed off and the dog will sh*t it. I wanna test this theory. Same with children. Zap zap you little f***ers.” Borders then says: “And a couple of downys?”
Mr Brown said the messages were sent “in an enthusiastic and encouraging manner” to other police officers and members of the public in the WhatsApp group, adding that it was “with no dissent apparently appearing”.
Cobban had firearms training with the Civic Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) in 2017 and volunteered to be the “race and diversity custodian” for his unit.
He, Borders, and Neville, who all worked for the CNC, both transferred to the Met in February 2019.
The messages were sent, the court heard, on a group called “Battle and Stoppers / Atkin’s puppets” when the PCs were either in training or on probation as serving Met officers.
“Each of the defendants was a serving police officer, training to and employed to protect and support the citizens of a very diverse city”, said the prosecutor.
He said police shootings caused “great anxiety for the public”, telling the court: “To make fun of the shooting of a member of the public in such a graphic way is grossly offensive to any right-thinking and objective memebr of the public.”
He said the sexual comments, including the suggestion of raping a female colleague, would “wholly undermine the efforts made by the police to encourage the reporting of sexual violence, and to recruitment of female officers to out police forces.”
In their interviews, Cobban said the comment about domestic violence victims was “a joke in very bad taste”, saying: “I didn’t mean it. It was an absolutely unacceptable comment to make and I shouldn’t have said it.
“It was a stupid thing to say and I completely regret it. I would never joke about victims of any crime now.”
On the comment likening Hounslow to a “Dulux colour code”, Cobban suggested: “This comment was in relation to the vibrancy of the area. It was a surprise to see all of different shops and signs in a variety of colours and languages.”
Cobban said the word “fag” should not have been used but said he is not homophobic as the best man at his wedding is gay.
Borders referred to “very dark humour which I appreciate may offend some people”, but insisted he is “always professional on the job and when dealing with victims”. “I don’t think rape is a joke and I don’t think violence against women is a joke”, he said.
The court heard Borders said many of the messages were sent before he became a fully-fledged police officer, and after time on the beat and meeting domestic violence victims he realised the exchanges had been “inappropriate”.
Neville insisted “I do not believe that every Muslim is a terrorist, and I have made a very misjudged joke.”
Borders, from Preston, and Cobban, from Didcot in Oxfordshire, both denied five charges of sending by public communication network an offensive, indecent, obscene, or menacing message or matter.
Neville from Weybridge, Surrey, pleaded not guilty to two identical charges.
The trial continues.