A NORTHUMBRIA Police constable who kept photographs of decaying bodies on his mobile phone has been sacked.

PC Luke Dickson also shared a "very sensitive" image of a domestic violence victim who had mayonnaise and a fizzy drink poured on her by an abusive partner, a misconduct panel heard.

PC Dickson admitted four allegations of gross misconduct. The panel said he had "caused real harm and damage to the police service and public confidence" and ruled he should be dismissed with immediate effect.

It heard PC Dickson attended a domestic violence incident in October 2019 during which the abuser, who had a knife and was described as being “very aggressive and unpredictable”, poured mayonnaise and a fizzy drink over the victim's head. The abuser then took a picture of her hair.

PC Dickson took a screenshot of this photo to use as evidence, but then later took a photograph of it which he kept on his personal mobile phone. There was "no policing purpose for him to do this", the panel said.

On three occasions PC Dickson sent the image to "amuse" family members with comments such as "Head full of mayo!" and "I'll get this done to you ya muppet xxx".

The victim told the panel in a statement she was "disgusted and disappointed" in the officer's behaviour, and felt she had been made a fool of.

She was left paranoid, and the sharing resulted in her loss of confidence in Northumbria Police, the panel said.

PC Dickson apologised and accepted "that he should not have shared the photograph but that he gave little thought to his actions and how it might impact the victim".

The panel said PC Dickson's actions caused her "immediate harm" and could make it "harder for victims of domestic violence to come forward, if they think there is any chance that officers might wrongly share sensitive photographs taken as evidence".

PC Dickson was also found to have kept photographs of three decomposing dead bodies on his personal mobile phone.

In June 2019 he asked for pictures another officer had taken of a dead man.

And at a scene involving another dead man in July that year which he had not been asked to attend, PC Dickson took two photographs himself of the decomposing body, later showing them to another officer.

In the December, he took pictures of a third dead man, for work purposes, but copied them on to his personal phone. He later showed them to other officers and kept the images on this phone.

In his formal response to the hearing, PC Dickson said he had never seen a dead body before and had asked for the first pictures out of curiosity, "in that he knew that he might have to deal with something similar in the future and to cope with the same."

He had taken the other images, and shared them with a colleague, to help him cope with the "toll of his duties", he said, and "to discuss with other officers what he had seen".

The panel could not see how keeping photographs would help him cope, and concluded he asked for the first photos out of "morbid curiosity".

The panel accepted PC Dickson had "significant personal problems" but that he had "developed a casual disregard towards the confidentiality of sensitive photographs and the privacy of others".

It ruled his misconduct was "extremely serious" and said "the legitimate need to maintain public confidence in the police makes dismissal the only proportionate response to this sustained misconduct".

"Only one sanction is justified and that is dismissal without notice," the panel said.