NewsCrime Desk

UK cop sacked for calling prostitutes while on duty

Lee Lyons
Lee Lyons

A senior police officer who contacted prostitutes while on duty has been sacked following a public misconduct hearing.

Inspector Lee Lyons, of Sussex Police, was dismissed after it emerged he arranged a location and fee for "Natalie's" services for after his shift ended.

At the time of making and receiving the series of calls and text messages on his police BlackBerry, he was working as a critical incident inspector.

He also used his personal phone at work to make 23 calls to 11 prostitutes in just over an hour on one day alone, July 23 last year.

Mr Lyons, who was based in Hastings, faced 21 claims in his absence at the seven-minute hearing in front of Sussex Police chief constable Giles York at force headquarters in Lewes.

Mr York told the hearing that Mr Lyons had signed a document accepting all the allegations against him.

No mitigating factors were offered on his behalf by Inspector Matt Webb, chairman of the Sussex Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers.

Mr York said the scale and harm of Mr Lyons' "pattern of behaviour" amounted to gross misconduct.

He said Mr Lyons "breached the boundaries between professional and personal life" which persisted even after management intervention.

Mr Lyons - an officer since 2001 - disclosed details on Facebook after seven-year-old Mary Shipstone was shot dead by her father Yasser Alromisse, 46, who then turned the gun on himself outside her house in Northiam, near Rye.

He posted while off-duty on September 11 last year: "Can't go into massive detail, and not for wider posting on FB. Estranged father shot daughter and then shot himself.

"He died at scene, she is currently at Kings College, London; she will likely die soon but there is a chance she might pull through."

Later that same day, he engaged in an iMessage chat with a BBC producer, and said at 10.25pm: "Wait until the media get wind of the extremism link."

He later added: "Egyptian national, claims to have been a 'terrorist'; alleged to have been radicalised. Poss 'honour' killing."

Again, on the same day, Mr Lyons had a WhatsApp chat with a barrister and personal friend, in which he revealed further details about the incident, describing the victim as "brain dead".

And he added: "Obvs between us but...Non supportive DV history, he is an Egyptian national, claims to have been a 'terrorist'; alleged to have been radicalised. Poss 'honour' killing."

In further disclosures, Mr Lyons contacted a BBC producer via WhatsApp on March 27 last year revealing a number of police officer suspensions at Hastings, including one for alleged bullying and one for misuse of a Taser.

The following day, he contacted her again via WhatsApp and said: "One of the new suspended officers is my mate. Looks like he is losing his job...He has been a cock...Sleeved a job...And the victim then got a shoeing."

In other claims, Mr Lyons "formed and maintained a relationship with a local news reporter" from at least May 2012 to the present day.

In one of the incidents, the reporter contacted Mr Lyons on August 2 2012 asking for confirmation about a Hastings-based sergeant being dismissed for a "racist comment".

Mr Lyons replied: "Correct, running a story?" Asked for further details, he added: "Yeah, made fun of a colleague. Other stuff too, can't mention. Poor supervisor."

Mr Lyons also made other disclosures to the reporter.

And he struck up a relationship from at least November 2011 with another local journalist and had given her information about police incidents.

He also sent a number of sensitive and restricted documents from his Sussex Police email account to his personal account.