Met Officer jailed for sending 'frankly repulsive' pornographic image on WhatsApp

Liam Boshein arriving at Portsmouth Crown Court Credit: PA

A Metropolitan Police officer from Hampshire who admitted possessing an extreme pornographic image on his phone has been sentenced to 42 weeks in prison.

A judge told Pc Liam Boshein the offence was “too serious” to avoid a jail term, and the Crown Prosecution Service said the image was “frankly repulsive”.

The 25-year-old, of Waterworks Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire, appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday after pleading guilty last month to committing the offence between November 7 2019 and April 4 2021.

Boshein had been a trainee Met officer for three months when he forwarded an image to a colleague on WhatsApp which judge Mousley ruled was “grossly offensive”.

The judge said “a sentence of imprisonment is unavoidable”, adding: “You were a serving police officer and that of course is a very serious aggravating feature.

“You pleaded guilty at the pre-trial preparation hearing and I will give you appropriate credit for that.”

Boshein was sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court

Boshein’s defence barrister, Ryan Dowding, argued he should not be jailed because he gained “no sexual gratification” from the image and it was sent privately between two friends.

Mr Dowding added it was the only image out of 296,000 found on Boshein’s devices that was pornographic and that time in prison would further damage his “fragile” mental health.

The court heard that Boshein had made a suicide attempt, been diagnosed with anxiety and depression and was taking medication for both.

Prosecutor Tim Devlin said the “appalling” nature of the image and Boshein’s position as a police officer justified imprisonment.

He told the court: “One has to look at this case in the context of what has been going on in the police force and the culture which appears to have arisen where people think it is acceptable as officers to share this sort of information.”

Judge Timothy Mousley KC accepted Boshein’s guilty plea, remorse, good character references, immaturity at the time of the offence and mental issues since then all justified a lesser sentence.

But he ruled imprisonment was necessary because he was a police officer and the pornographic image was extreme. “This offence is too serious for a non-custodial sentence,” he said.

A Met Police spokesman confirmed on an earlier occasion that Boshein had been suspended from his post with the South Area Command Unit and the force’s directorate of professional standards was aware of the case.

Ruth Sands, Wessex senior crown prosecutor, said after the sentencing: “The image found on Liam Boshein’s phone was frankly repulsive and certainly not something that the public would expect a police officer to have in his possession.

“The public rightly expects police officers to act with integrity and to uphold the law to keep our communities safe.

“We will continue to prosecute anyone who commits a criminal offence whenever our legal test is met.”