PC Wayne Couzens pleads guilty to the murder of Sarah Everard

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officer accused of killing Sarah Everard has pleaded guilty to her murder.

Jul 9, 2021
By Tony Thompson
Wayne Couzens

Police Constable Wayne Couzens, 48, had previously pleaded guilty to her rape and kidnap but had not been asked to make a plea to the charge of murder.

Ms Everard, 33, went missing as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham, South London, on March 3. She was reported missing by her boyfriend the following day and her body was found hidden in an area of woodland in Ashford, Kent, on March 10.

It is understood that, after having made plans to abduct a woman from the streets of London – including hiring a vehicle for that purpose three days earlier – the officer picked Ms Everard at random because she was walking alone. The abduction took place shortly after he clocked off from his last shift.

Ms Everard’s death prompted a national debate around female safety and has increased demands for more to be done to tackle violence against women.

MPS Commissioner Cressida Dick said outside court that she had spoken to the family of Sarah Everard and told them “how very sorry I’m am for their loss, for their pain and their suffering”. She added that the force was “sickened, angered and devastated by this man’s crimes – they are dreadful. Everyone in policing feels betrayed.”

Carolyn Oakley, Crown Prosecution Service specialist prosecutor in the Special Crime Division, said: “Today, Wayne Couzens pleaded guilty to the murder of Sarah Everard. This plea is as a result of a great deal of hard work by the prosecution team. The police should be commended for their thorough and tireless investigation into Sarah’s disappearance.

“Wayne Couzens lied to the police when he was arrested and to date, he has refused to comment. We still do not know what drove him to commit this appalling crime against a stranger.

“Today is not the day for hearing the facts about what happened to Sarah. Today is a day to remember Sarah and our thoughts remain with her family and friends.”

Wayne Couzens transferred into the MPS, from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC), in September 2018.

His first posting was to South Area, serving initially in a Safer Neighbourhood Team, before joining a response team covering the Bromley area in February 2019.

He then moved to the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command in February 2020 where his primary role was to patrol diplomatic premises, mainly embassies.

Following his arrest, a review confirmed he passed vetting processes. The checks confirmed there was no information available to the MPS at the time that would have changed the vetting decision.

Couzens was not subject to any misconduct proceedings during his time at the MPS.

Couzens stopped being paid as a police officer immediately following his earlier guilty pleas. This was as soon as legally possible. Internal misconduct procedures are now being progressed.

He will next appear at the Old Bailey to be sentenced on Wednesday, 29 September.

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