AN AVON and Somerset police officer who took a photo of a dead woman lying face down and partially clothed on a bed and sent it to a colleague is facing the end of his career.

PC Daniel Wallwork, 40, sent the image from his personal phone with the words: “Look who’s turned up dead” from the scene of the sudden death last April.

Wallwork claimed he was notifying his colleague of the death of the woman from Radstock.

He said he and his colleague had both had prior professional involvement with the 42-year-old.

The father-of-two accepted misconduct at a hearing today (Wednesday, January 12), but denied gross misconduct.

Mark Loker, of the Police Federation, told the hearing: “There was no merriment to this image – it was to notify his colleague who had attended the address on previous occasions.”

Mr Loker said Wallwork had been to the woman’s address previously and “actually felt quite sorry for her”.

He said the image was not taken to “make fun or mock” the dead woman.

Mr Loker said: “He is someone who merely got it wrong on the day and made a terrible mistake or an error of judgment.”

He added that Wallwork has an “exemplary record” in the police, and previously worked as a prison officer after leaving the Army.

Wallwork said: “I accept what I did was wrong and I chose the wrong method of communication.

“I felt almost immediately that I had invaded (the deceased’s) privacy.”

Mark Ley-Morgan, for Avon and Somerset Police, told him: “I’m going to suggest you didn’t regret it at all; it wasn’t until four days later, when (your colleague) challenged you.

“Only then did you realise you were potentially in a bit of trouble.”

Making a finding of gross misconduct, Avon and Somerset Chief Constable Sarah Crew said: “I am satisfied there was a conscious and deliberate act on the part of PC Wallwork in taking and sending the photo of the deceased.

“The primary duty of Pc Wallwark that day was to investigate the circumstances of death and report to the coroner.

“PC Wallwork took out his personal mobile phone, he took a photo and sent it to a colleague on WhatsApp; he had no policing purpose for doing so.”

She added: "(Wallwork) failed to treat a woman, who he says he knew to be vulnerable, with respect, dignity or courtesy in the moment of her death, when at her most vulnerable – partially clothed and exposed to his view.

“This would undoubtedly have caused upset and distress to her family and those who loved her.”