Novlett Robyn Williams, who was commended for her work after the Grenfell Tower disaster, was sentenced to 200 hours of community service
A highly decorated police officer who had a child abuse video on her phone has avoided a jail term – but has been told her career is all but over.
Novlett Robyn Williams, who was commended for her work after the Grenfell Tower disaster, was sentenced to 200 hours of community service for possession of an indecent image at the Old Bailey today.
The court heard 54-year-old Williams received the video from her older sister, co-defendant Jennifer Hodge, via WhatsApp.
Williams was one of 17 people to be sent the video – which lasted less than a minute – by Hodge who had received it from her partner, bus driver Dido Massivi, 61, in February last year.
The court accepted Williams did not view the material, although jurors were not convinced by Williams’ claim she was unaware of its presence on her phone.
Williams, of south London, showed no emotion as sentence was passed down by Judge Richard Marks QC.
The judge said: ‘You have had a stellar career in the police force over 30 years.
‘That is amply demonstrated by the awards you received, the rank you achieved, and truly outstanding character references.
‘Against this background, it is completely tragic you found yourself in the position you now do.’
He added: ‘The consequences to you of this conviction will undoubtedly be immense, particularly as far as your employment and your career are concerned.’
Scotland Yard said Williams remains on restricted duties, though she could yet end up losing her career pending a misconduct investigation into the matters.
Social worker Hodge, 56, of Brent in north-west London, was found guilty of distributing an indecent image of a child.
Her long-term boyfriend Massivi, was convicted of two counts of distributing an indecent photograph of a child, and one count of possessing an extreme pornographic image portraying a person having sex with a horse.
Williams won Queen’s Police Medal along with dozens of awards for her service following tragedies including the Grenfell Tower fire.
She also won a Diamond Jubilee Award and Queen’s Police Medal for tackling gang violence in Nottingham.
Novlett Robyn Williams (pictured today) who was commended for her work after the Grenfell Tower disaster, now faces losing her career
Former Home Secretary Jack Straw praised the officer for raising the profile of black officers in the force in 1997.
She was honoured by the Queen for her senior role during the 2011 London riots and again for helping Grenfell victims after the tower block inferno claimed 72 lives in 2017.
Her lawyer Anesta Weeks, QC, told the court: ‘It is important to her abiding devastation for the child in the video because that is the sort of person Ms Williams was in the habit of looking after and doing something about.
‘She remains devastated for the plight of that child. It is an understatement to to say that she is devastated to be here in this court but from the public gallery we know that many people stand by her and support her.
‘She has lost the status which allowed my Lord to refer to her as a woman with a ‘stunning’ career.
Williams, 54, from south London, denied ever seeing the video, which was sent to her via WhatsApp by her sister, co-defendant Jennifer Hodge (right) Hodge’s long-term boyfriend, bus driver Dido Massivi (left) was also convicted
‘One does not recover from this trial and her conviction. The conviction will stay with her for the rest of her life.
Richard Wright, prosecuting, said it was a ‘sad case’ of poor decision making rather than malice.’
He said: ‘This was a video that all right-minded people would find disturbing and disgusting
‘The person who should have reported it and taken immediate steps to do so was Miss Williams the sister of Jennifer Hodge.
‘We say the defendant Ms Williams failed to act because she knew that to do so would place her sister and her sister’s partner at risk of arrest and a criminal investigation.
Chief Superintendent Williams pictured with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in 2016
‘These are not bad people. Regrettably however, they have all made very bad judgements and in so doing we say they have broken the law.
‘As you would rightly expect the law applies to all of us in exactly the same way, regardless of who we are, what job we do, or how out of character our lapses of judgement might be.
‘Novlett Robyn Williams is a serving police officer who holds the permanent rank of Superintendent and was acting up as a Chief Superintendent at the time we are concerned with in 2018.
‘She received her video from her sister Jennifer Hodge and did not report it or otherwise take steps to deal with it.
‘As an experienced officer of high standing we say she knew full well what was expected of her and moreover that there was an urgent child welfare need to report the video as soon as she saw it.
‘It would have been clear, by which I mean not blurred, and we say it would have been immediately obvious what it was; an indecent video of a child.’
Hodge tried to claim during the trial she was only attempting to report the video to the police.
One of her colleagues was ‘appalled’ by what she saw and immediately reported it to the police who soon arrested Hodge and Massivi.
When she was being arrested Hodge said: ‘My sister is a Chief Inspector so I will call her because first of all you’ve pushed the door in.’
Giving evidence Williams said she would ‘absolutely never’ let a family relationship stop her from reporting a crime.
She cited two incidents when she was off-duty and acted to protect a child from harm while arguing she would never have ignored the video.
Asked whether she would have reported the video had she seen it, Williams said: ‘If I’d have seen anything remotely like that I simply, simply would have picked up my phone, rung my inspector and asked how the best way was to get this evidence into the chain of action so we could absolutely safeguard and protect this child if the act is what you’ve described.’
Massivi claimed he received the video on 2 February last year and sent it to his wife because he wanted her to report it.
He told jurors he tried to show it to her but she said she was busy doing coursework and asked to be sent it electronically.
Massivi said: ‘I said to her Jennifer I have received a video of someone abusing a child. She said: ‘Okay, I am busy, send it on my mobile’.
‘She said: ‘Send it to me and I am going to look at it’. I deleted it when I sent it to her.’
Massivi said he was driving a bus on Saturday 3 February when Hodge looked at the sickening clip.
He told jurors: ‘She said, ‘I saw the video and it is very bad and I am going to speak to Robyn’.
‘She wanted justice. She wanted to report it. I know that the video was somebody abusing a child. The first person I wanted to show was my partner.
‘I lived with Jennifer that is why I sent it to her.’
Supt Williams, of south London, denied but was convicted of one count of possession of an indecent photograph of a child.
She was cleared of one charge of corrupt or improper exercise of police powers and privileges by a constable.
She was sentenced to a community order of 200 hours unpaid work.
Hodge handed her a community order of 100 hours unpaid work. Massivi denied but was convicted of two counts of distributing an indecent photograph of a child and possession of extreme porn.
He was handed an 18-month prison sentence suspended for two years with 200 hours unpaid work.
Massivi must sign on a notification register for ten years, while Hodge and Williams were ordered to do so for five years.