The disappearance of Sarah Everard: the week-long investigation so far
March 3: Sarah vanished ‘into thin air’ after leaving friend’s home Clapham around 9pm. She leaves out of her friend’s back gate and speaks to her boyfriend on the phone for 15 minutes.
Around three miles away Wayne Couzens finishes a 6-hour shift guarding the US Embassy in Battersea.
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
Cordon around the Poynders Court housing complex on Poynders Road, forensics officers on scene
11.59pm: Met police officer Wayne Couzens arrested in Kent on suspicion of kidnap. A 39-year-old woman at the same address is arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.
Neighbours say they spotted a Land Rover containing two men watching the property for two hours before around 20 officers raided the house.
A shirtless Couzens was led from the house in handcuffs with one witness saying: ‘He looked very calm – just walked out’.
March 10: Specialist police search team arrives in Kent. They search Couzens’ home and garden as well as nearby Betteshanger Park which is around two-and-a-half- miles from the house as well as an abandoned leisure complex in Great Chart near Ashford.
3pm: Met Police confirm the arrested man is an officer in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command. They disclose he has now been re-arrested on suspicion of the murder of Sarah Everard and the indecent exposure of a second woman. They refuse to say when or where the alleged indecent exposure took place.
8pm: Dame Cressida Dick confirms human remains were found in woodland in Ashford, Kent in the search for Sarah. She was unable to confirm whether the remains belonged to the missing woman.
March 11: 10am: Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was ‘shocked and deeply saddened by the developments in the Sarah Everard investigation’, adding ‘we must work fast to find all the answers to this horrifying crime’.
Home Secretary Priti Patel added: ‘Every woman should feel safe to walk on our streets without fear of harassment or violence. At this deeply sad and tragic time as we think and pray for Sarah and her family’.
4pm: Police later confirm the suspect was treated in hospital for a head injury sustained while in custody, before being returned to a police station.
Ms Everard’s family release a statement paying tribute to her as a ‘shining example to us all’, adding that she ‘brought so much joy to our lives’.
The Met reveals an extension to the suspect’s detention was granted by a magistrates’ court, while the woman arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender is released on bail to return to a police station on a date in mid-April.
6pm: The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) says it has launched an investigation into the Met’s response to a report of indecent exposure following referrals linked to the arrest of the suspect.
The police watchdog says its independent probe follows a ‘conduct referral’ from the force in relation to two officers, and will look at the Met’s actions after it received a report on February 28 that ‘a man had exposed himself at a fast food restaurant in south London’.
Organisers of a vigil for Ms Everard say they are seeking legal action against the Met after claiming the force reversed its position on allowing the event planned for March 13 to go ahead.
Scotland Yard is facing an inquiry after it was revealed the armed policeman arrested over the alleged murder of Sarah Everard was accused of flashing someone in a takeaway just 72 hours before she was kidnapped.
Wayne Couzens, 48, was reported to police after allegedly exposing himself at a south London restaurant on February 28. Miss Everard disappeared on March 3 at about 9pm.
Three days later Couzens is said to have finished a six-hour shift guarding the US Embassy near Battersea Powerstation at 8pm on the same night she ‘vanished into thin air’ as she walked home to nearby Brixton.
Police arrested the suspect following a tip-off about a car allegedly spotted on a motorist’s dashcam near to where the missing woman was last seen. Yesterday a CCTV clip showing a woman passenger in a car was being examined.
The police watchdog has launched an independent inquiry into whether the Metropolitan Police ‘responded appropriately’ to the report of indecent exposure and if it did enough to investigate the diplomatic protection officer, who was not removed from duty.
Two officers called to the alleged flashing are at the centre of the Independent Office for Police Conduct probe.
Despite the allegation of indecent exposure being made against him, PC Couzens continued his work as an armed officer for Scotland Yard’s diplomatic protection command guarding VIPs and politicians.
The Mail understands that the complaint had not reached ‘command level’, so his colleagues are unlikely to have been aware of the allegation.
Sources said the officer had been behaving erratically and had spent a considerable period of time off sick for an unknown issue.
The IOPC started an investigation last night into whether two Met officers responded appropriately to the report. The watchdog is also assessing a referral from the police force in relation to its actions after Miss Everard went missing.
A spokesman said: ‘The IOPC has started an independent investigation into whether Metropolitan Police Service officers responded appropriately to a report of indecent exposure.
‘They are all connected to the arrest of a serving MPS officer on suspicion of kidnap, murder and a separate allegation of indecent exposure.’
The allegations were said to have plunged Scotland Yard into turmoil amid concerns that public confidence in the police has been hit.
Senior officers were described as ‘reeling’ yesterday.
The shocking development came as the heartbroken family of Miss Everard, 33, paid tribute to her last night, describing her as a ‘shining example to us all’.
They have been informed that a body found in woodland near Ashford, Kent, on Wednesday may need to be identified by dental records, which could take days or even weeks.
Yesterday PC Couzens was taken to hospital following an injury behind bars after his arrest on Tuesday on suspicion of murder and kidnap.
He was found unconscious in a custody cell in Wandsworth, south London, with head wounds that were said to be self-inflicted.
Suspects are supposed to be monitored every 15 minutes under normal custody rules for potentially vulnerable prisoners.
PC Couzens has since been discharged and returned to custody for further questioning.
On Thursday Met Police confirmed a woman aged in her 30s, who was on suspicion of assisting an offender, has been released on bail to return to a police station on a date in mid-April.
Scotland Yard has referred the matter to the police watchdog, one of five referrals.
The IOPC has upheld a separate referral relating to the Met’s handling of an allegation of indecent exposure, which Couzens was also arrested over.
Met Police confirmed it had referred itself to the IOPC in relation to the injuries suffered by the suspect, as well as the conduct of two officers relating its investigation into alleged indecent exposure.
A statement released by Scotland Yard read: ‘Following the arrest of a police officer, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) made two referrals, one mandatory and one voluntary, to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
‘These were linked to the conduct of the officer arrested on suspicion of kidnap, murder and indecent exposure.
‘The IOPC has determined both these matters should be locally investigated by the MPS.
‘We also made a mandatory referral in relation to the actions of police after Sarah was reported missing. We await the IOPC’s assessment.
‘A further voluntary referral was made for a conduct matter in relation to the police investigation into the separate allegations of indecent exposure. The IOPC have determined this will be subject to an independent IOPC investigation.
‘We have made another mandatory referral to the IOPC after the man arrested was taken to a hospital for treatment to a head injury sustained while in custody in a cell alone. He was being monitored by CCTV and received immediate first aid. We await the IOPC’s assessment.’
MailOnline has pieced together Sarah’s final movements as it was claimed that Couzens was working at the US Embassy on the day she vanished
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick confirmed human remains have been found in the week-long search for 33-year-old marketing executive Sarah Everard
The Met arrested one of its own officers, Wayne Couzens, on suspicion of murder, pictured left and right with his wife Elena. CCTV from a bus that passed his alleged victim as she walked home. Dash cam footage was also central to the raid
The woodland area close to a disused Ashford golf course was packed with forensics teams yesterday as the Met expanded their searches after discovering human remains
Metropolitan Police officers and funeral directors with the Private Ambulance carrying the remains found in Hoad’s Wood near Ashford in Kent. Sarah’s family has been informed that a body found in woodland near Ashford, Kent, on Wednesday may need to be identified by dental records, which could take days or even weeks.
The officer, who was part of an elite unit guarding Downing Street, the Palace of Westminster and embassies, is suspected of abducting Miss Everard as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham, south London, on Wednesday last week.
Met Police ‘BAN reclaim these streets march in memory of Sarah Everard and threaten to prosecute organisers under Covid lockdown legislation’
Police have threatened to fine organisers of a vigil planned following the suspected kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard.
The Reclaim These Streets event was set to take place on Clapham Common bandstand at 6pm on Saturday, near where Miss Everard was last seen.
But organisers claimed last night they were told by the Metropolitan Police ‘the vigil would be unlawful and… we could face tens of thousands of pounds in fines and criminal prosecution’.
They launched an online fundraiser last night to raise £30,000 to cover legal costs. It had exceeded the target within one house.
The group plan to challenge the police’s interpretation of coronavirus legislation in the High Court today. Several vigils had been planned across the UK.
A statement said: ‘Should the judge decide against us, we may be liable for the Metropolitan Police’s costs of us to £30,000.
‘We will also be forced to cancel the vigil, and no women across England will be able to assemble to assert their rights.
‘The only way for us to proceed is to crowdfund the potential costs of £30,000, which we need to raise by 9am tomorrow morning.
‘If we win the judgement tomorrow, the money raised will be donated to a women’s charity.’
The event’s Facebook page states that the vigil is for and about all women who have felt unsafe and is open to all.
Attenders are invited to ‘bring a light to remember those we’ve lost’.
Under covid lockdown laws, police can break up illegal gatherings and issue fines of £10,000 for someone holding a gathering of over 30 people.
Reclaim These Streets said it was “always aware of the challenges of organising a Covid-secure vigil, but safety has been a top priority from the beginning”.
The group said it had contacted Lambeth Council and the Met Police and initially received a ‘positive response’.
“Since this statement, the Metropolitan Police have reversed their position and stated that the vigil would be unlawful and that, as organisers, we could face tens of thousands of pounds in fines and criminal prosecution under the Serious Crimes Act,” the group said.
If the group wins its legal challenge it said it would donate the money to a women’s charity.
Police arrested the suspect following a tip-off about a car allegedly spotted on a motorist’s dashcam near to where the missing woman was last seen.
Yesterday a CCTV clip showing a woman passenger in a car was being examined.
On the night of her disappearance PC Couzens had just come off duty after a 2pm to 8pm relief shift at the US Embassy in Nine Elms, south-west London, about three miles from where she was last seen.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said it had sent ‘waves of shock’ through the force.
Yesterday Victim Support revealed its support line has been flooded with calls from concerned women.
The events have prompted an outpouring of shock and anger as women across the country shared their own experiences of feeling unsafe.
Last night police were still questioning PC Couzens after a warrant of further detention was granted at Wimbledon magistrates’ court.
A woman, who was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of assisting an offender, has been released on bail to return to a police station on a date in mid-April.
Searches continued at Hoard’s Wood near Ashford, Kent, a private 500-acre patch thick with trees and brambles. It is 30 miles from PC Couzens’s home address in Deal, where he lives with his Ukraine-born wife Elena.
The heartbroken family of Sarah Everard paid tribute to her last night, describing her as a ‘shining example to us all’.
The parents of the 33-year-old marketing executive told of their devastation after their ‘wonderful daughter’ was allegedly snatched from the street by a stranger as she walked home a week ago on Wednesday.
Now the family face an agonising wait for the formal identification of human remains found in woodland near Ashford, Kent, on Wednesday.
Miss Everard’s father Jeremy, 67, a professor of electronics at the University of York, and her mother Susan, 63, travelled down to London to help police in their search soon after Miss Everard went missing on the night of March 3.
In a statement they said: ‘Our beautiful daughter Sarah was taken from us and we are appealing for any information that will help to solve this terrible crime.
‘Sarah was bright and beautiful – a wonderful daughter and sister. She was kind and thoughtful, caring and dependable. She always put others first and had the most amazing sense of humour.
‘She was strong and principled and a shining example to us all. We are very proud of her and she brought so much joy to our lives.
‘We would like to thank our friends and family for all their support during this awful time and we would especially like to thank Sarah’s friends who are working tirelessly to help.’
Steve Lewis, Miss Everard’s head teacher at Fulford School, York, told The Times she was ‘popular and well-liked’ and a ‘lovely, bright, intelligent girl who shone within the school’.
She went on to achieve a 2:1 degree in geography at Durham University in 2008 and moved to London about 12 years ago to pursue her career in marketing.
She took a six-month break in 2013 to travel to South America, spending a month at the carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, before travelling to Iguazu Falls and Buenos Aires, in Argentina.
She supported the Matthew Elvidge Trust, a mental health charity set up in memory of a student who took his own life in 2009.
Miss Everard had just started a new job and was in a relationship with Josh Lowth, 33, a marketing director.
She had made a 15-minute call to him as she walked home, ringing off shortly before police believe she was abducted in Poynders Road, in Clapham, south London.
The family’s statement last night also included an impassioned plea for information from the public.
It is hoped witnesses will come forward, which may help detectives piece together Miss Everard’s last movements.
Despite learning that the prime suspect in the case is a Metropolitan Police officer, the family expressed their faith in the investigation team.
‘We are so grateful to the police and would like to thank them for all they are doing,’ they said. ‘We are now pleading for additional help from the public. Please come forward and speak to the police if you have any information.
‘No piece of information is too insignificant’.
Police have threatened organisers of a vigil planned in the wake of the suspected killing of Sarah Everard with £10,000 fines for breaking lockdown rules.
Officers from the Metropolitan Police laid flowers at the gates of the disused golf course and sports centre close to the woodland where remains feared to be Sarah’s have been found
Met police officers forensic officers visit the home the home of prime suspect Wayne Couzens, Deal, Kent, in connection with the disappearance of Sarah Everard
Aerial footage shot by the BBC shows the back of the garden complete with a pool apparently covered over by investigators
Josh Lowth, 33, is the boyfriend of missing Sarah Everard, the woman seen walking between Clapham Junction and Brixton. The couple spoke for around 15 minutes on the phone before Sarah’s disappearance
The Reclaim These Streets event was set to take place in Clapham at 6pm on Saturday, near where Miss Everard was last seen.
It was intended as a show of defiance against reported police instructions to women in the area to not go out alone.
The organisers wrote on Facebook: ‘It’s wrong that the response to violence against women requires women to behave differently.’ Similar vigils were planned in cities including Cardiff and Liverpool.
The group said it had contacted Lambeth council and the Met and received a ‘positive response’. But organisers claimed last night they were told by the Met ‘the vigil would be unlawful and … we could face tens of thousands of pounds in fines and criminal prosecution’. The organisers had advised attendees to wear masks and practise social distancing. They plan to challenge the police’s interpretation of coronavirus legislation in the High Court today.
They launched an online fundraiser last night to raise £30,000 to cover legal costs. It had exceeded the target within one hour.
Under lockdown laws, police can issue fines of £10,000 for someone holding a gathering of more than 30 people.
The Met was contacted for comment.
Two officers in an unmarked Land Rover were said to have been watching Couzens’ house he shares with his Ukrainian wife Elena in Deal, Kent, for two hours before 20 police sprinted in from around the corner to arrest him six days after his alleged victim vanished.
They have been described by friends as a ‘very doting couple’ with two children who met online around 12 years ago.
Police had swooped over something they saw on CCTV on a London bus that passed Sarah as she walked towards Brixton, according to the Daily Telegraph, who said he was working in the hours before his arrest.
A car linked to Couzens – thought to be a hire vehicle – was reportedly picked up on a motorist’s dashcam near to the spot where Sarah disappeared last Wednesday.
One source told MailOnline: ‘If they identified his car from the bus, they will have been able to see him driving all the way home on London and Highways England’s network of cameras.
‘If she was in the car, they will have footage of him with her’.
Detectives also probe whether the suspect used his warrant card to lure her into his car after leaving work guarding the nearby US Embassy, it has emerged.
Scotland Yard are also said to be investigating whether Couzens, 48, used the current Covid-19 lockdown rules to stop the missing woman as she walked home to Brixton from her friend’s home in Clapham, south-west London on the evening of March 3.
Anyone who has seen Sarah or who has information that may assist the investigation should call the Incident Room on 0208 785 8244.
Information can also be provided to detectives using the Major Incident Portal or by calling Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.