A Metropolitan Police officer who sent his ex-girlfriend racial slurs about her new partner in five “grossly offensive” messages has been jailed.
Thomas Phillips, 34, used the n-word in a series of WhatsApps to his former partner Samantha Ryan, a serving police officer, when referring to her new boyfriend, Pc Danny Gobin, who is also serving in the police.
The officer, from Croydon in south London, initially denied five counts of sending an offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing message contrary to the Communications Act 2003 before pleading guilty in July.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard Phillips also called his love rival a mongrel and used misogynistic language when describing why they were together.
Prosecutor Louise Oakley told the court the pair’s relationship began in 2017 but had broken down by 2021, when the offending took place.
Phillips became “arrogant” and would “belittle” his ex-girlfriend, the court heard, and it is alleged he subjected her to domestic abuse, but they continued to live together at a house they had bought.
He does not face any charges in relation to the alleged domestic abuse, the prosecutor told the court.
On April 8 2021 Phillips messaged Ms Ryan on WhatsApp saying “he is black, you are a ginger with a nice arse, he is genetically drawn to you”.
On April 20 that year he referred to her boyfriend as a “mongrel spade” in a message and used the n-word to describe him in another text.
On May 1 2021 Phillips asked Ms Ryan if she would have “little afro babies with big noses”, and the court heard eight days later he suggested her new partner was a thief because “he is black”.
When interviewed by police last year he denied the offending – trying to suggest Ms Ryan had written the texts on his phone and sent them to herself to frame him, that the screenshots were doctored and that she had got her partner to do it for her.
The prosecutor said the exchanges amounted to a “campaign” which showed “determined hostility based on race”.
The defendant was a serving police officer at the time of the offending and in our submission he has undermined the confidence the public have in the police
Prosecutor Louise Oakley
She added: “He describes deliberately sending them to be hurtful.
“The defendant was a serving police officer at the time of the offending and in our submission he has undermined the confidence the public have in the police.”
Ms Ryan held back tears as she described in a victim impact statement how she was initially reluctant to report Phillips for fear of being labelled a “troublemaker” at work.
She said this had “made me feel like a failure as a police officer and a failure as a person”.
Ms Ryan also told the court her ex-boyfriend’s behaviour has led her to need therapy and counselling.
She said she was initially reluctant to report Phillips out of fear of being “punched and kicked”, that he would blame her if he lost his job and that he made repeated suicide threats she claims were to “threaten and control” her.
Pc Gobin, whose mother is Irish and father is from Mauritius, said he had become a police officer out of revulsion at racism that he and his family experienced in the past and that the comments made him feel “sick” and “disgusted”.
He added that the “stress and anxiety” the messages caused him had been “immense” and that he had needed to take time off work at one point.
The court heard it was initially decided no further action would be taken before the charges were brought.
In mitigation, Phillips’ lawyer Colin Banham said the views expressed in the messages are not his real ones and asked for his client to be given a community order.
Although there were only five messages, they were spread out over a period of time that demonstrated they were not simply an emotional outburst but a considered course of conduct
District Judge Louisa Cieciora
He added that Phillips had shown “genuine remorse” and acted in the context of the end of the relationship.
Jailing him for 71 days, District Judge Louisa Cieciora told Phillips: “The offences were motivated by and demonstrated hostility based on race.
“Although there were only five messages, they were spread out over a period of time that demonstrated they were not simply an emotional outburst but a considered course of conduct.
“You were a serving police officer at the time, and serving police officers are expected to reflect the values of our society, to protect those who are vulnerable, and not to have or demonstrate bias based on personality characteristics.
“The probation officer said your language and actions demonstrate you harbour those core beliefs of racial hatred as well as misogyny.
“I am not persuaded there is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation and I am satisfied appropriate punishment can only be achieved by immediate custody.”
A restraining order also bans the defendant from contacting his victims for two years, apart from through lawyers.
The officer had been suspended from duty while the case was ongoing and is expected to face misconduct proceedings later.