Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Sheffield councillor sent photo of topless woman during meeting

Councillor Mohammad Maroof Image copyright Sheffield City Council
Image caption Councillor Mohammad Maroof said he received the unsolicited image before the meeting and accidentally forwarded it on

A councillor who sent a photo of a topless woman to a group of mums during a meeting has been suspended.

Sheffield City councillor Mohammad Maroof posted the image on a Mums United WhatsApp group while its founder Sahira Irshad presented a petition on knife crime.

He has been suspended by the Labour council pending an investigation.

Mr Maroof said he was "very embarrassed" and apologised for what he described was an "honest mistake".

He said he was trying to attach a video of Ms Irshad speaking at the meeting and instead accidentally attached the unsolicited image which he received earlier in the day, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The councillor, who represents Nether Edge and Sharrow, said he asked for it to be deleted "within seconds" of sending it.

Image copyright Mum's United
Image caption Councillor Mohammad Maroof said he sent the image of a topless woman accidentally
Image copyright Mum's United
Image caption The councillor apologised to those in the group chat shortly after

He said: "This is my private phone and I receive so many things that my Whatsapp has been set up to automatically save everything in my phone's photo file.

"Somebody sent me this photo, it may have come in the morning, and it went into my phone's file.

"I tried to send the group a video and by mistake I pressed the wrong photo.

"As soon as I realised, I asked for it to be deleted as I couldn't delete it myself. It was only there for a second."

Mr Maroof said he sent an apology to the group chat.

"I sincerely apologise. I had no intention to do such a thing and to cause such disruption," he added.

"I have a lot of respect for the group."

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A member of the group, who wanted to remain anonymous, said it was "absolutely disgraceful".

Council leader Julie Dore said it was "a very serious matter" and added his suspension was immediate "until we have ascertained the details".

Mr Maroof said he came up with the idea of setting up the WhatsApp group to empower women.

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