A former Metropolitan police officer who murdered a 33-year-old woman has been sentenced to life imprisonment.
Wayne Couzens, 48, was sentenced today, Thursday, 30 September, for the murder of Sarah Everard.
On Wednesday, 29 and Thursday, 30 September, the Old Bailey heard how the former police officer abducted, raped and murdered Sarah.
Couzens had pleaded guilty to murder on Friday, 9 July, at the same court.
A month before, Couzen admitted kidnapping and raping Sarah.
The duo was not known to each other, police investigation had revealed.
The former officer was arrested on 9 March over the disappearance of Sarah in Clapham, Southwest, London.
Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “Sarah’s kidnap, rape and murder was one of the most dreadful events in the 190-year-history of the Metropolitan Police Service.
“This hearing has revealed the full brutality of this man’s crimes against Sarah.
“I am absolutely horrified that this man used his position of trust to deceive and coerce Sarah, and I know you all are too. His actions were a gross betrayal of everything policing stands for.
“What he did was unthinkable and appalling. He showed himself to be the coward he is through his lies and seeking to minimise his true responsibility for his crimes.
“Police officers are here to protect people, to be trustworthy, courageous and compassionate. His every action is the exact opposite of that.
“As the judge said, he has eroded the confidence that the public is entitled to have in the police. It is critical that every subject in this country can trust police officers when they encounter them.
“The judge went on to say he has very considerably added to the sense of insecurity that many have living in our cities, perhaps particularly women.
“I have followed this investigation very closely; I have been in court yesterday and today. I am absolutely sickened.
On 3 March, at about 21:00hrs, Sarah left a friend’s house in Leathwaite Road, Clapham, through a back gate onto the A205 South Circular.
She began walking to her home address in Brixton before she was grabbed by Couzen. She did not arrive home that night.
A missing person report was filed the next day at about 20:20hrs.
3 days after, On Saturday, 6 March, the Met’s Specialist Crime Command launched an investigation into her disappearance.
Investigators obtained CCTV on Tuesday, 9 March which showed Couzens with Sarah at about 21:30hrs 6 days before.
Detectives arrested Couzens within hours at his home address on suspicion of her abduction, and the following day, the charge was upgraded to murder.
After an extensive investigation, Sarah remain was discovered on Thursday, 11 March, in an isolated rural area called Hoad’s Wood, in Kent.
Homicide detectives first charged Couzens with Sarah’s abduction and murder and a charge of rape was later added following forensic results.
Wayne Couzens was a serving officer when he committed the crime.
He was transferred into the Met from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) in September 2018.
He joined a response team covering the Bromley area in February 2019, after he had served initially in a Safer Neighbourhood Team in South Area.
Before his grievous crime, Couzens was working at the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, a post he started in February 2020.
His primary role was to patrol diplomatic premises, mainly embassies.
After his arrest, a review confirmed there was no information available to the Met during his vetting process that would change the vetting process.
Couzens stopped receiving payment as a police officer after he pleaded guilty to the murder of Sarah Everard.
As soon as it was legally possible, the MPS held an accelerated hearing after he pleaded guilty. He was dismissed from the Force on 16 July.
Commissioner Cressida Dick said “Overwhelmingly, my thoughts are with Sarah, with her family and friends, her loved ones.
“He will now spend the rest of his life in prison.
I hope that will give them some small comfort.
“This man has brought shame on the Met. Speaking frankly, as an organisation we have been rocked.
“I do want to thank everyone involved in bringing him to justice and doing so swiftly. Sarah’s courageous and dignified family and friends, the prosecution team, and all those who supported the investigation and prosecution.
“The judge recognised and commended the work of our investigators. I echo those thoughts. I saw for myself first-hand their extraordinary determination and professionalism,.
“This is the Metropolitan Police Service I know. It is capable and caring. It is full of people who are good, who work all their lives to protect others.
“I absolutely know that there are those who feel their trust in us is shaken. I recognise that in some people a precious bond of trust has been damaged.
“Our dedication to you, our public, remains undiminished.
“As Commissioner, I will do everything in my power to ensure we learn any lessons.
“I know that what happened to Sarah, and indeed what has happened to other women in London and beyond in recent times, has raised important questions about women’s safety.
“Here in the Met I commit to keeping working with others to improve women’s safety and reduce the fear of violence.
“There are no words that can fully express the fury and overwhelming sadness we all feel about what happened to Sarah. I am so sorry.”©Standard Gazette, 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s publisher is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Standard Gazette with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.