Wayne Couzens was deployed to guard MPs at the House of Commons on multiple occasions before he raped and murdered Sarah Everard, it has been revealed.
The armed police officer, 48, performed duties in the Houses of Parliament at least five times despite being nicknamed ‘The Rapist’ by colleagues and having a known history of sexual deviance.
The killer was even issued with an ‘access-all-areas’ pass, one senior parliamentary source told The Times.
It has also emerged that Couzens received up to £10,000 from the Met Police in pay during the four months after his arrest.
He was not officially sacked by the force until mid-July after he pleaded guilty.
Wayne Couzens was deployed to guard MPs at the House of Commons on multiple occasions before he raped and murdered Sarah Everard, it has been revealed
Couzens joined the Met’s elite parliamentary and diplomatic protection command in 2020 with very little or no additional vetting.
The Met previously refused to discuss his Westminster posting and said last week his ‘primary role was to patrol diplomatic premises, mainly embassies’.
But after inquiries by Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, a Met spokeswoman said: ‘Couzens was deployed to armed static protection duties on the Parliamentary Estate on five occasions from February to July 2020.’
The revelation has sparked fury among politicians who believed they were working in one of the country’s safest buildings.
Hoyle said he was ‘extremely concerned’ and would be speaking to under-fire Met chief Dame Cressida Dick.
The armed police officer, 48, performed duties in the Houses of Parliament at least five times despite being nicknamed ‘The Rapist’
He said: ‘I have asked the Met to meet me urgently to discuss how this person could have been deemed suitable for deployment here. Further, I will be seeking reassurance that at no time was anyone on the parliamentary estate put at risk.’
Labour MP Rosie Duffield, who has been the subject of online abuse and threats, said: ‘It’s chilling that someone whose nickname was “the Rapist” was guarding MPs when we are told that we are protected by a ring of steel.’
She also called on Parliament to hold a security review to ensure it does not happen again.
Couzens joined the Met’s elite parliamentary and diplomatic protection command in 2020
One senior parliamentary source accused the Met of deliberately trying to ‘mislead’ authorities by claiming Couzens did not have a parliamentary pass.
A separate row has broken out over the salary received by Couzens after his arrest in March over the brutal killing.
The Met claims it was bound by law to keep paying him until he pleaded guilty, after which he was sacked following a misconduct hearing,
But a government source said Home Office lawyers determined his estimated £33,000-a-year salary could have been withheld once he was arrested and charged.
It is not clear if he will be asked to pay back the earnings accrued while he sat in a jail cell.
The latest revelations add to the growing failures and oversights by police to stop Couzens before he carried out his horrific crimes in March.
It was revealed yesterday that he was named as a suspect in a sex offence 72 hours before he killed Sarah Everard.
CCTV evidence of a car involved in an alleged flashing incident at a drive-thru McDonald’s in February this year generated the name ‘Wayne Couzens’ as a suspect on Metropolitan Police systems – and provided his address.
A former head of Scotland Yard said police chief Dame Cressida must be held accountable for an ‘appalling series of blunders’
But officers failed to realise that he was a serving officer and further inquiries were not made until after Miss Everard’s disappearance on March 3.
A former head of Scotland Yard said police chief Dame Cressida must be held accountable for an ‘appalling series of blunders’ in the case.
In a stinging rebuke Lord Stevens, who served as Met Commissioner between 2000 and 2005, said: ‘You have to look at yourself and say can I continue? Can I continue with confidence?
‘Can I continue in way that brings around the change that’s necessary to make the public feel safe – and in this particular instance, women safe. And further, have we got people in the police service who should not be there?’
Couzens’s parliamentary duties were discovered after an inquiry by Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle (pictured)
It had been known that Couzens’ car was reported by staff at a McDonald’s restaurant in Swanley, Kent, after two female workers said they had been flashed by a motorist there on February 7 and again on February 27. The complaint was made on February 28.
But last night it emerged the CCTV evidence showing his number plate had actually brought up Couzens’ name as a suspect on Met police systems.
Yesterday a McDonald’s worker who was flashed by the sexual predator blasted officers for ‘not acting quickly enough’. The worker, who did not want to be named, said: ‘The police took our statements and took away CCTV. If they had taken this more seriously, they could easily have figured out that he was a policeman who had committed these crimes.
‘The police had three days to stop him but didn’t. It could have stopped him from doing a lot worse.’