Met Police officer who kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard will today face justice

Killer policeman Wayne Couzens used Covid laws to stop, handcuff and arrest Sarah Everard as part of a ‘planned’ kidnapping before raping and strangling her, the Old Bailey heard today. 

Couzens then drove her 80 miles in a hire car to her death before burning her body in a rubbish-strewn patch of woodland. 

The 48-year-old had finished his shift with an elite diplomatic protection unit hours before he pounced on the marketing executive, 33, as she walked home from a friend’s flat in Clapham, south London.

Prosecutor Tom Little QC said: ‘These were uniform Covid patrols in which the Covid regulations were enforced – the defendant undertook a couple of such shifts,’ he said. 

‘He was therefore aware of the regulations and what language to use to those who may or may not have breached them, if speaking to them. He was to use that knowledge to kidnap Sarah Everard.’ 

Ms Everard’s body was found a week later, more than 50 miles away, hidden inside a green builder’s bag in a stretch of woodland in Ashford, Kent on March 10.

Father-of-two Couzens was a firearms officer in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command. He was over £29,000 in debt at the time of the murder and had been using prostitutes, the Old Bailey heard.

He has admitted kidnap, rape and murder and will receive his sentence after a two-day hearing. 

Police officer Wayne Couzens kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard in depraved crime after he had finished his shift

Police officer Wayne Couzens kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard in depraved crime after he had finished his shift

Police officer Wayne Couzens kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard in depraved crime after he had finished his shift

Ms Everard, 33, was snatched off the street as she walked home in Clapham, south London, on the evening of March 3

Ms Everard, 33, was snatched off the street as she walked home in Clapham, south London, on the evening of March 3

Ms Everard, 33, was snatched off the street as she walked home in Clapham, south London, on the evening of March 3

During a traumatic hearing at the Old Bailey today, the court heard – 

‘Deception, rape, strangulation and fire’ 

Sarah Everard was the victim of ‘deception, kidnap, rape, strangulation, fire’, the Old Bailey heard at the start of her murderer’s sentencing.

Wayne Couzens, 48, was a serving PC with the Metropolitan Police when he snatched Ms Everard as she walked home in Clapham, south London, on the evening of March 3.

The sexual predator, who had clocked off from a 12-hour shift that morning, went on to rape and strangle the 33-year-old marketing executive.

The disappearance of Sarah Everard and Wayne Couzens’ arrest

March 3: Sarah disappeared after leaving a friend’s home in Clapham at around 9pm. She leaves out of her friend’s back gate and speaks to her boyfriend on the phone for 15 minutes.  

March 5: Sarah’s family share missing posters of her after they become increasingly concerned that she is still not home, spreading the word online with links to the Missing People charity.

March 6: Met Police release an appeal, saying Sarah was thought to have walked through Clapham Common, heading towards Brixton home, a journey of 50 minutes. They say they are not certain she ever arrived home.

March 7: Police release footage of Ms Everard and say she was walking alone on A205 Poynders Road towards Tulse Hill when she was last seen on CCTV, which has not been released to the police.

March 8: Specialist officers are drafted and 120 calls from public come in. A door-to-door operation sees police speak to 750 families.

March 9: Police search gardens near Ms Everard’s route and nearby Oaklands Estate.

Officers also search a pond in Clapham Common and drains along the A205. 

11.59pm: Met police officer Wayne Couzens arrested in Kent on suspicion of kidnap. 

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A week after she disappeared, Ms Everard’s body was found in a woodland stream in Ashford, Kent, just metres from land owned by Couzens.

Prosecutor Tom Little QC said: ‘The defendant’s plot of land is very close to, and in the same woods, that he was to burn Sarah Everard’s body after he had murdered her.

‘He then moved her body in green bags that he had purchased specifically for that task to a pond deeper into the woods but which was only about 130 metres from his plot.’

The firearms-trained parliamentary and diplomatic protection officer wiped his phone just minutes before he was arrested at his home in Deal, Kent, on March 9.

The killing prompted national outrage and sparked protests over the rate of violence against women.

In July, Couzens pleaded guilty to Ms Everard’s murder, kidnap and rape by video link from jail.

Today, he came face to face with his victim’s family when he was brought into the dock of the Old Bailey for the start of his sentencing.

Opening the facts, Mr Little said the disappearance of Ms Everard was one of the most widely publicised missing person investigations the country has ever seen.

After her body was discovered in woodland, it became summarised by the hashtag ‘she was just walking home’, he said.

But that did not completely describe what happened to Ms Everard, the court heard.

Mr Little said: ‘Whilst it is impossible to summarise what the defendant did to Sarah Everard in just five words, if it had to be done then it would be more appropriate to do so as deception, kidnap, rape, strangulation, fire.’

Ms Everard: ‘Extremely intelligent, savvy and streetwise’

Ms Everard was described by a former long-term boyfriend as ‘extremely intelligent, savvy and streetwise’ and ‘not a gullible person’, the court heard.

He said he could not envisage her getting into a car with someone she did not know ‘unless by force or manipulation’, said the prosecutor.

Mr Little said Couzens worked on Covid patrols in late January this year, enforcing coronavirus regulations, so would have known what language to use to those who may have breached them.

Couzens was said to be wearing his police belt with handcuffs and a rectangular black pouch, similar to a pepper spray holder, when he kidnapped Ms Everard.

Mr Little said he snatched Ms Everard in a ‘false arrest’, by ‘handcuffing her and showing his warrant card’.

The prosecutor said he must have taken her mobile phone from her and removed the sim card, which he tried to destroy.

Ahead of the start of the two-day sentencing, Scotland Yard released a statement which read: ‘We are sickened, angered and devastated by this man’s crimes which betray everything we stand for.

‘Our thoughts are with Sarah’s family and her many friends. It is not possible for us to imagine what they are going through.

‘We recognise his actions raise many questions and concerns but we will not be commenting further until the hearing is complete.’   

Ms Everard's death sparked an outpouring of grief, outrage and a series of protests at the rate of violence against women

Ms Everard's death sparked an outpouring of grief, outrage and a series of protests at the rate of violence against women

Ms Everard’s death sparked an outpouring of grief, outrage and a series of protests at the rate of violence against women

Killer was in debt for £29,000, rowed with the Met over pay, had a fake Match.com profile, and used escorts

Couzens was in debt to the tune of £29,000 at the time of the killing, the Old Bailey heard. 

Mr Little told the Old Bailey: ‘In relation to finances at the material time his bank accounts were generally overdrawn only being brought into credit for short periods either by wages paid in and/or the use of short term payday loans.

‘He had a total debt of just under £29,000 with a number of financial institutions, which were the subject of a debt management plan agreed in Oct 2020 with a debt management company, Payplan, with agreed monthly repayments of £235.

‘As at March 2021, the defendant also had a credit card account with NatWest which was in debt (£3460.70); and a PayPal credit card account which was also in debt (£1580.27); both of which had debt payment plans in place to make minimum monthly payments.’ 

Couzens was involved in a dispute with the Met over his pay,’ Mr Little said, adding: ‘He talked freely to colleagues about this, and the fact that he was hoping to obtain legal assistance in the near future. He had not discussed any other financial problems with colleagues. 

‘Most of his colleagues had the impression that he was a ”family man’.’ 

The court also heard how Couzens had been paying for sex with escorts and had a Match.com profile under a fake name. 

Mr Little said: ‘In early February 2021, the defendant was in contact with an escort with username ”escourtbabygirl” through the Adult Work Escort Service.’  

Couzens bought a rubbish-strewn plot of woodland where he burned Sarah’s body  

The Old Bailey heard that Couzens and his wife had bought a plot of woodland by Ashford, Kent.

Mr Little said: ‘The defendant’s plot of land is very close to, and in the same woods, that he was to burn Sarah Everard’s body after he had murdered her.

‘He then moved her body in green bags that he had purchased specifically for that task to a pond deeper into the woods but which was only about 130 metres from his plot,’ said Mr Little.

PC worked on ‘Covid patrols’ and ‘knew the language used to tackle offenders’

In January this year Couzens was working in ‘Covid patrols’ and was aware of coronavirus regulations and the language used on those who may have breached them, the Old Bailey heard. 

Mr Little said that he had ‘arrested’ and handcuffed Ms Everard for a breach before raping and murdering her. 

He said: ‘These were uniform Covid patrols in which the Covid regulations were enforced. The defendant undertook a couple of such shifts.

‘He was therefore aware of the regulations and what language to use to those who may or may not have breached them, if speaking to them. He was to use that knowledge to kidnap Sarah Everard.’  








CCTV footage of Sarah Everard captured earlier on the night she was kidnapped in March, sparking a nationwide hunt

CCTV footage of Sarah Everard captured earlier on the night she was kidnapped in March, sparking a nationwide hunt

CCTV footage of Sarah Everard captured earlier on the night she was kidnapped in March, sparking a nationwide hunt

A number of areas were searched in Clapham as police tried to look for missing Sarah before the hunt moved to Kent

A number of areas were searched in Clapham as police tried to look for missing Sarah before the hunt moved to Kent

A number of areas were searched in Clapham as police tried to look for missing Sarah before the hunt moved to Kent

Killer officer was accused of indecent exposure three days before he murdered Sarah

The public reacted with horror when the Metropolitan Police announced that one of their own had been arrested over the death of Sarah Everard.

Wayne Couzens, who is married with children, was a highly trusted member of the force’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command.

The armed unit is responsible for guarding the Parliamentary estate, including Downing Street and the Palace of Westminster, as well as embassies in London.

The 48-year-old officer had been accused of indecent exposure in a branch of fast food restaurant McDonald’s three days before Miss Everard died, but was not arrested or taken off duty while the matter was investigated.

A number of separate troubling incidents involving police officers have attracted public attention in recent months.

In June, West Mercia Pc Benjamin Monk was convicted of the manslaughter of former footballer Dalian Atkinson, having kicked the 48-year-old in the head twice after what the judge called an ‘excessive’ 33-second use of a Taser.

In April, former probationary Metropolitan Police officer Ben Hannam, 22, was found guilty of membership of banned right-wing extremist group National Action (NA) and jailed for four years.

He had been with the London force for nearly two years before he was found on a leaked database of users of extreme right-wing forum Iron March and arrested last year.

Hannam, who pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited image of a child, was also convicted of lying on his application and vetting forms to join the police and having two terror documents detailing knife combat and making explosive devices.

In March, ex-Pc Oliver Banfield, who served with West Midlands Police, was given a curfew and ordered to pay compensation and costs after admitting assault by beating. 

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Couzens carried handcuffs around while not on duty 

Members of the public had noticed Couzens wearing his police belt when not on duty, with a pair of handcuffs and black pepper spray holder.

‘This is the type of equipment that it can be inferred that the defendant was wearing when he kidnapped Sarah Everard,’ said Mr Little. 

He continued: ‘It was not unusual for officers on PaDP to take personal protective and other equipment (including body armour and handcuffs) home with them from the Lillie Road base – they were required to undertake frequent training, at a number of different locations, to which they would travel directly.

‘For convenience, they would often take home the kit needed.

‘Two members of the public had independently noticed seeing the defendant when he was not on duty wearing his Police belt with handcuffs and a rectangular black pouch (similar to a pepper spray holder) attached to it (whilst out in Deal walking his dog; and when attending a local computer hardware repair shop in the town).

‘This is the type of equipment that it can be inferred that the defendant was wearing when he kidnapped Sarah Everard.

‘It is instructive that in relation to the incident in the repair shop that when the owner asked the defendant jokingly if he was ‘into kinky stuff’ when he referred to the handcuffs that were visible on the defendant’s belt. The defendant said ‘I am an undercover police officer’.

‘As he said that the defendant chuckled but then opened his jacket a little more to reveal his Police issue kit.’

Murderer’s final shift before the murder – guarding the American Embassy

Couzens worked his last shift from 7pm on March 2 to 7am the next day. It was a posting at the American Embassy. 

Mr Little said: ‘That evening the defendant discussed the possibility of leaving the Metropolitan Police because of the pay dispute and depending on the outcome he might go off sick with stress.

‘This was meant to be the start of his period of five rest days, from Wednesday Mar 3 at 7am to Mar 8 at 7am, when he was due to return to Lillie Road for a training day.’

The next day he had a sick day but lied to his family, saying he was working another night shift. 

At this point his wife sent a message to his mother saying: ‘Wayne had a call for overtime shift tonight. I wondering if you could pick children from school tomorrow, would you?’. 

Couzens journey to ‘hunt a lone young female to kidnap and rape’

After his final shift, Couzens drove back to his home in Kent in his own car, a Seat.  

After leaving home, Couzens picked up a Vauxhall Crossland hire car that he had booked on February 28. 

Describing his appearance, Mr Little said: ‘The defendant was wearing a black puffa-style jacket with a Barbour logo on the breast pocket, a dark blue hooded jumper with a yellow lining in the hood, a dark baseball cap with a white Polo logo on the front, light-grey trousers and black and white trainers.’ 

During his journey back to London, Couzens was captured on CCTV purchasing a pack of 14 hair bands in a Tesco, which was a ‘significant’ purchase and part of his plans.

He proceeded to drive the car around in central and south London, crossing the river twice.

‘We say circular route taken by the defendant as well as the areas in which he was driving are consistent with the defendant looking for, indeed hunting for a lone young female to kidnap and rape, which is precisely what he did,’ Mr Little said.

Sarah’s movements on the night she was abducted and the final phone call to her boyfriend

Ms Everard had worked the day of March 3 at home, and planned to go to a friend’s house near Clapham Junction to have dinner. 

After leaving her friend’s house, Ms Everard made a 14-minute call to her boyfriend, sounding ‘in good spirits’ and ‘not intoxicated.’

They made plans to meet later that week and ended the conversation normally, with Ms Everard intending to walk home through south London, something she did routinely.

‘That call that the last that her family, friends and colleagues heard from her,’ said the prosecutor.

After failing to text a friend she was home safe and missing a work meeting the following day, Ms Everard’s loved ones frantically attempted to find her and her boyfriend reported her missing.

‘Her boyfriend went round to her flat but got no answer,’ Mr Little said. ‘He started to make enquiries with the hospitals and emergency services, and reported Sarah as missing to the police. 

‘He also made enquiries with other friends and family, but nobody had heard from her all day.’  

The fake arrest  

The kidnap happened on Poynders Road (A205), with Couzens travelling in the same direction as Ms Everard. 

In chilling CCTV footage, Couzens is seen driving behind Ms Everard before stepping out of the car and standing a few feet apart from her.

‘We can see the left hand of the defendant come towards Sarah Everard as though he was showing her something, we say the warrant card, and afterwards he must have handcuffed her,’ said Mr Little.

A couple driving past the scene saw Couzens in the process of handcuffing Ms Everard, before leading her towards the hire vehicle.

‘The immediate impression the passenger formed was that she was witnessing an undercover police officer arresting a woman, whom she assumed ‘must have done something wrong’,’ said Mr Little

‘They were witnessing the kidnapping of Sarah Everard.

‘She was detained by fraud. The defendant using his warrant card and handcuffs as well as his other police issue equipment to effect a false arrest.

‘Having handcuffed her to the rear she would not have been able to undo the seatbelt that the defendant must have placed over her.

‘That was the start of her lengthy ordeal including an 80 mile journey whilst detained which was to lead first to her rape and then her murder.

‘At some point fairly soon after driving from the pavement onto the South Circular and having not gone to a police station for example, Sarah Everard must have realised her fate.’

Sarah's family leave the Old Bailey after a previous hearing where Couzens made two guilty pleas. Her father Jeremy is seen on the left, with her sister Katie can be seen on the right.

Sarah's family leave the Old Bailey after a previous hearing where Couzens made two guilty pleas. Her father Jeremy is seen on the left, with her sister Katie can be seen on the right.

Sarah’s family leave the Old Bailey after a previous hearing where Couzens made two guilty pleas. Her father Jeremy is seen on the left, with her sister Katie can be seen on the right.

There was a huge search for Sarah Everard after she went missing after visiting a friend before her remains were found in Kent

There was a huge search for Sarah Everard after she went missing after visiting a friend before her remains were found in Kent

There was a huge search for Sarah Everard after she went missing after visiting a friend before her remains were found in Kent

Police released this mugshot of murderer police officer Wayne Couzens after he admitted the offences early this year

Police released this mugshot of murderer police officer Wayne Couzens after he admitted the offences early this year

Police released this mugshot of murderer police officer Wayne Couzens after he admitted the offences early this year

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