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‘I was exemplary’ – officer accused of sharing offensive messages with Couzens

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A former policeman accused of joking about raping a colleague in a group WhatsApp with Sarah Everard’s killer has described himself as “exemplary” on the job.

Joel Borders, 45, told Westminster Magistrates’ Court “my image was perfect and I behaved perfectly with people” but he was “naive” when he first joined the Metropolitan Police in 2019.

Borders has denied charges relating to improper use of a public electronic communications network between April 5 and August 9 2019, as have co-accused serving Met constables Jonathon Cobban, 35, and William Neville, 34.

Their WhatsApp chat, called “Bottle and Stoppers” comprised seven officers who had transferred from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) to the Met.

Messages from the chat were found on Wayne Couzens’ phone during investigations into the murder of Ms Everard last year.

Former Metropolitan Police constable Joel Borders told Westminster Magistrates’ Court he was an ‘exemplary’ officer (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

(PA Wire)

Borders had worked for the CNC from March 30 2014, and transferred to the Met on February 11 2019.

He left the force on December 9 2020, for unrelated reasons and before he was told about Couzens or that he was being investigated for misconduct in August 2021.

In messages previously read to the court, Borders, from Preston, Lancashire, said: “I can’t wait to get on the guns so I can shoot some c*** in the face”, and suggested tasering people with Down’s Syndrome.

Speaking about a female colleague, he also said she would “lead me on then get me locked up when I rape and beat her! Sneaky b****”.

During cross-examination by his lawyer Nicholas Yeo on Friday, Borders told the court that he was “well thought-of on the job”.

“I was an exemplary officer,” he said.

“I always turned up to work early, I always dressed smart, made sure my boots were clean.

“My image was perfect and I behaved perfectly with people.

“I know that’s me saying this, but I was well thought-of on the job.

“People actively wanted to be partnered with me because I was good at the job.

“There’s a lot of officers who are not good at their job and it makes it difficult to be partnered up with them on a case.”

Three Metropolitan Police officers are in court over messages they exchanged on a group chat with Sarah Everard’s killer (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

(PA Wire)

Borders added: “I admit that I was naive when I first joined the Met.

“I had a different sense of humour then.

“But meeting people on the job, being involved in delicate matters, it changed what I find funny.

“I still have a dark sense of humour, I still laugh at things that maybe I shouldn’t laugh at.”

He said his jokes were not intended to offend the people who they were about, and gave the example of a joke he made about his mother, who has dementia, after she suffered a fall and broke her hip a few months ago.

Borders said that to cheer his 75-year-old father up who was “exhausted” but did not want to miss a hospital visit, he said: “Don’t go, and just tell her you went – she won’t remember.”

He said: “You might say that’s offensive to people with dementia, but it made my dad laugh, and all of a sudden his mood changed – his whole attitude changed.”

Serving Metropolitan Police Pc William Neville (Kirsty O’Connor/PA).

(PA Wire)

Neville, of Weybridge, Surrey, and Cobban, from Didcot, Oxfordshire, watched from the dock and are due to give evidence later on Friday.

On Thursday, Neville was accused of “acting out a rape fantasy” by prosecutor Edward Brown QC after he described the time he “pinned a 15-year-old girl going mental on the floor” as deploying a “struggle snuggle”.

Meanwhile, Cobban described a hospital patient he was dealing with as an “attention seeking, self-harming f*g”, and Hounslow, a diverse area of London, as a “Somali s******”.

Responding to jokes about police performing sex acts on domestic violence victims, Cobban also wrote: “That’s alright, DV victims love it… that’s why they are repeat victims more often than not.”

The trial continues.

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