Sarah Everard: Serving Met Police officer, 48, arrested over disappearance

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.

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.

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.

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A body was tonight found in the search for missing Sarah Everard – as officers continued to quiz a serving Metropolitan Police colleague on suspicion of her murder.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick confirmed human remains have been found in the week-long search for the 33-year-old marketing executive. 

However, she was unable to confirm whether the remains found in woodland in Ashford, Kent were those of Ms Everard. 

Dame Cressida said: ‘As you are aware, a man has been arrested on suspicion of Sarah’s murder. 

‘This evening, detectives and search teams investigating Sarah’s disappearance have found very sadly what appears to be human remains.’

She added: ‘The discovery was made in an area of woodland in Ashford in Kent.

‘As you can imagine, at this early stage we are not able to confirm any identity and indeed that may take us some considerable time.

‘Specialist officers have been with Sarah’s family to update them on the investigation and to continue to give them the best support we possibly can.

‘The news today that it was a Metropolitan Police officer who was arrested on suspicion of Sarah’s murder has sent shock waves and anger through the public and through the Met.

‘I speak on behalf of all my colleagues when I say that we are utterly appalled at this dreadful, dreadful news.

‘Our job is to patrol the streets and to protect people.

‘The investigation is large, fast moving and extremely determined. We have had and continue to have hundreds of officers and staff working around the clock.

‘Sarah’s disappearance in these awful and wicked circumstances I know are every family’s worst nightmare.

‘Londoners will want to know that it is thankfully incredibly rare for a woman to be abducted from our streets.

‘But I completely understand that despite that women in London, particularly in the area where Sarah went missing. will be worried and may be feeling scared.

‘You should expect to see increased police patrols in the area as well, of course, as continued large scale investigative activity. 

‘We have been so impressed and very thankful for the public’s support for the investigation in so many different ways but in particular for sharing our appeals for information.

‘We are deeply grateful to all those many, many people who came forward with information that has assisted us.

‘My thoughts tonight are with Sarah, her family, and her loved ones.’ 

The serving Metropolitan Police officer arrested over Ms Everard’s disappearance was being quizzed on suspicion of her kidnap, murder and indecent exposure on Wednesday.

Wayne Couzens, 48, was being held today by colleagues in London in connection with the week-long missing persons investigation.

Couzens, who is a Westminster-based diplomatic protection officer and has to be armed for his job, was originally arrested for the kidnap of Sarah last night, but was re-arrested today on suspicion of her murder.

Police have revealed they are also quizzing him on suspicion of indecent exposure against a second woman, unrelated to the missing 33-year-old. They would not say when or where the allegation related to. 

The Met said in a statement: ‘A man arrested in connection with the disappearance of Sarah Everard remains in custody at a London police station.

‘The man, who is aged in his 40s, was arrested on the evening of March 9 on suspicion of kidnap. Today he has been further arrested on suspicion of murder and a separate allegation of indecent exposure.

‘The man is a serving Metropolitan Police officer in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command. His primary role was uniformed patrol duties of diplomatic premises.

‘A woman, who is aged in her 30s, was also arrested on the evening of March 9 on suspicion of assisting an offender. She remains in custody.

‘Officers are searching locations in London and Kent including a property in Deal and an area of woodland near Ashford.

‘Following the arrest of the police officer, the Metropolitan Police has made a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.’

It is understood that a key part of the investigation came after detectives examined CCTV footage which led them to the suspect 

Couzens, who is married with two young children, was never involved in the search operation for Sarah himself and was detained just before midnight last night at his home in Deal, Kent.

His officer job with the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection – also known as PaDP – is based at Westminster.

Formed in 2015, the unit is responsible for the protection of government owned buildings and embassies as well as ministers and visiting heads of state.

The PaDP is an armed command with most of its officers being authorised to use and carry firearms.

Another woman was also arrested at their £200,000 Kent property where the family has lived for four years and which is close to woodland where police are currently scouring for Ms Everard.

This afternoon police began searching their home and garden in full as their £20,000 black Seat Exeo was taken away on lowloader. They were also seen photographing a motorbike in his garage.  

Police who arrested Couzens last night are understood to have taken a memory card as part of their investigation.

Officers are said to have found the micro SD card during a search of the semi-detached property. Couzens had been recently digging part of their back garden up to install a pond, neighbours say.

John Chidwick, 67, who lives in their road, said: ‘He had some timber sheets going spare and I asked if I could have them to build a manure box for my allotment. He was a nice, friendly bloke and well spoken.

‘He hadn’t been living on the road all that long, about four years give or take, but seems to be a family man as most people around here are. I know he’s a police officer.’

Another neighbour said: ‘He kept himself to himself but I knew he was a policeman. I was shocked to see the police. They set up a tent and have been digging up the garden.’ 

Couzens was previously a car mechanic and only relatively recently became a police officer ten years ago. 

Marketing executive Sarah, 33, had ‘vanished into thin air’ after leaving a friend’s house in Clapham, south London at around 9pm on Wednesday, March 3.

Until last night officers and volunteers had been focusing their efforts on searching grasses and ponds on Clapham Common.

But there was a switch in attention last night as teams travelled 80 miles away to Kent to make their arrest.

Today they were also searching near 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, which was previously used for paintball, golf and driving range. A burnt-out silver Ford Focus could be seen in the grounds.

Earlier Sarah’s stunned uncle Nicholas told MailOnline: ‘It’s shocking and very upsetting. We were not expecting a development like this and it’s difficult to make sense of it.

‘I found out that a police officer had been arrested through the media last night. I spoke to my brother straight away and he was as shocked as me. The whole family is and all our friends. I spoke to him again this morning and we are waiting for an update from the police.

‘The police are doing everything they can and we are grateful to them. We are expecting an update from them later today. I could never have imagined that the investigation could have taken such an unexpected twist.’ 

What we know about the case so far: 

  • Sarah went missing after visiting a friend’s house and speaking to her boyfriend Josh on the phone
  • Officers were able to pinpoint her last known position after scouring CCTV around Clapham Common
  • She went off the radar after being seen on Poynders Road, just off the green, shortly after 9.30pm
  • Worried friends and family teamed up to help search for clues on the common over the past week
  • Flats on Poynders Road were taped off and searched last night by uniformed police and forensic teams
  • Just before midnight they arrived at Wayne Couzen’s Deal home and arrested him over the disappearance
  • He was arrested on suspicion of kidnap and a woman, 39, on suspicion of assisting an offender
  • Today Couzens was re-arrested on suspicion of murdering Sarah and indecent exposure to another woman
  • Police have also been combing his house and various wasteland areas near to where the married man lives
Wayne Couzens, 48, was being held today by colleagues in the Metropolitan Police in connection with the investigation

Wayne Couzens, 48, was being held today by colleagues in the Metropolitan Police in connection with the investigation

Wayne Couzens, 48, was being held today by colleagues in the Metropolitan Police in connection with the investigation

Wayne Couzens, pictured here holding a piece of cake, is understood to be currently sporting a beard like the one above

Wayne Couzens, pictured here holding a piece of cake, is understood to be currently sporting a beard like the one above

Wayne Couzens early in his career doing a breathalyser test

Wayne Couzens early in his career doing a breathalyser test

Wayne Couzens, left, is understood to be currently sporting a beard like the one above, and right early in his career

Sarah Everard, 33, 'vanished into thin air' after leaving a friend's house in Clapham, south London on Wednesday night

Sarah Everard, 33, 'vanished into thin air' after leaving a friend's house in Clapham, south London on Wednesday night

Sarah Everard, 33, ‘vanished into thin air’ after leaving a friend’s house in Clapham, south London on Wednesday night

Police were seen taking away evidence in bags, including what appeared to be a laptop in the right plastic sack

Police were seen taking away evidence in bags, including what appeared to be a laptop in the right plastic sack

Police were seen taking away evidence in bags, including what appeared to be a laptop in the right plastic sack

A black SEAT Exeo was lifted off the drive way and forensics officers entered the house where the arrests were made

A black SEAT Exeo was lifted off the drive way and forensics officers entered the house where the arrests were made

A black SEAT Exeo was lifted off the drive way and forensics officers entered the house where the arrests were made

The investigation began in Clapham after Sarah vanished after walking home from her friend’s house at 9pm on March 3

Today the investigation moved to Deal in Kent when Metropolitan Police Officer Wayne Couzens was arrested over Sarah

A now-derelict garage where Couzens worked at his family mechanics business was taped off by investigating police today

A now-derelict garage where Couzens worked at his family mechanics business was taped off by investigating police today

A now-derelict garage where Couzens worked at his family mechanics business was taped off by investigating police today 

David Ladd, 48, who lives on the street, said he saw his neighbour being arrested last night.

He said: ‘I came back last night from a motorbike ride about 10pm and there were a load of plain clothes police officers in the street.

‘They had arrested Wayne. I saw him in handcuffs being put in the back of an unmarked silver car. Uniformed officers turned up and have been outside Wayne’s house since then.

‘Wayne himself was a police officer, he told me when we had a chat about three months ago. Although what exactly he did in the force I don’t know.

‘I’d seen that he had a motorbike and I had some problems with the exhaust on my bike and so went to see him to see if he could help. He gave me a few tips on what to do and we got chatting.’

Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave this morning refused to say what the officer had been arrested on suspicion of, in a departure from usual arrest details disclosed by police forces.

But he did say outside Scotland Yard: ‘Our inquiries suggest that this officer was not on duty at the time of Sarah’s disappearance.’

Mr Ephgrave would not say if the officer was known to Ms Everard. The Metropolitan Police officer, arrested in Kent in connection with the disappearance, today remained in custody at a London police station. 

A woman was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender at the same location and was also detained at a London police station.  

Detective Chief Inspector Katherine Goodwin said: ‘This is a significant development in our inquiry. This is a fast moving investigation and we are doing everything we can to find Sarah.

‘We have seen an overwhelming response from the public and I repeat my request for anyone with information that may be relevant to come forward, no matter how insignificant it may seem.’

Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave added: ‘The arrest this evening is a serious and significant development. 

Forensics have been at the scene at the house for most of the day collecting and photographing any possible clues

Forensics have been at the scene at the house for most of the day collecting and photographing any possible clues

Forensics have been at the scene at the house for most of the day collecting and photographing any possible clues

A forensic officer takes pictures inside the garage of the family home of serving police officer Wayne Couzens today

A forensic officer takes pictures inside the garage of the family home of serving police officer Wayne Couzens today

A forensic officer takes pictures inside the garage of the family home of serving police officer Wayne Couzens today

Police put up a metal barrier around the home of Wayne Couzens this afternoon as activity intensified tonight

Police put up a metal barrier around the home of Wayne Couzens this afternoon as activity intensified tonight

Police put up a metal barrier around the home of Wayne Couzens this afternoon as activity intensified tonight 

Police search a disused paintball centre on Bears Lane, near Great Chart Golf and Leisure as they look for missing Sarah

Police search a disused paintball centre on Bears Lane, near Great Chart Golf and Leisure as they look for missing Sarah

Police search a disused paintball centre on Bears Lane, near Great Chart Golf and Leisure as they look for missing Sarah

‘We will continue to work with all speed on this investigation but the fact that the arrested man is a serving Metropolitan Police officer is both shocking and deeply disturbing.

‘I understand there will be significant public concern but it is essential that the investigative team are given the time and space to continue their work.’ 

The Metropolitan Police added the Directorate of Professional Standards is aware of the arrests and Sarah’s family has been notified of the developments. 

Miss Everard vanished after leaving a friend’s home in Leathwaite Road, Clapham to walk home to Brixton at around 9pm last Wednesday.

She was last seen wearing a green rain jacket, navy blue trousers with a white diamond pattern and turquoise and orange trainers. It is also believed she was wearing green earphones and a white beanie hat. 

Footage from a doorbell camera last captured images of Miss Everand as she walked along the A205 Poynders Road towards Tulse Hill at around 9.30pm. 

Officers yesterday sealed off a block of flats as they began a forensic investigation close to where the Durham University graduate was last seen.     

A short stretch of the South Circular was closed along Poynders Road, where the block of flats are, between Cavendish Road and Rodenhurst Road. 

Forensic officers were seen looking through hedges and along the street as they searched for any evidence that could aid them in their search.

The Met also yesterday released two new images of the missing woman. 

 Met Police tweeted on Tuesday: ‘Were you driving in the Poynders Road area after 9.30pm on Wednesday 3rd March? 

‘PLEASE check and double check your dash and door cams for footage.’  

Sarah's boyfriend Josh Lowth, 33

Sarah's boyfriend Josh Lowth, 33

Missing People have urged anyone that knows anything to help

Missing People have urged anyone that knows anything to help

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 search continued after it was revealed Miss Everard spent a quarter of an hour on the phone making plans to see her boyfriend Josh Lowth the following day, before her mobile was either switched off or ran out of battery. 

Mr Lowth, 33, whose LinkedIn says he is Marketing Director at MA Exhibitions, later raised the alarm to police when she failed to meet him as she had arranged, her aunt confirmed. 

Speaking at Mr Lowth’s family home in Sidcup, Kent, his father Chris told MailOnline: ‘We are concerned, like everybody is. We really, really want to see her back.’

‘The whole family is obviously very worried about her and just wants her home safely.

‘We’re all pulling together and praying that this awful situation is quickly resolved. We want to thank the media for all their help.’

 Mr Lowth shared a Facebook post appealing for anyone who knows where Miss Everand is to get in touch with police.  

He wrote: ‘Sarah is still missing. Please share this post to help us to find her. Today, more than ever, we miss our strong, beautiful friend.’ 

The 33-year-old is understood to have left her friend’s house through a back gate onto the A205 South Circular at around 9pm on March 3. 

Her family and friends released a plea for her return, saying: 'Sarah, we are here for whenever you are ready'

Her family and friends released a plea for her return, saying: 'Sarah, we are here for whenever you are ready'

Her family and friends released a plea for her return, saying: ‘Sarah, we are here for whenever you are ready’

She then began walking to her home address in Brixton, and should have returned home 50 minutes later.  

Miss Everard was last seen on CCTV at around 9.30pm last Wednesday.

Her father Jeremy, 67, a professor of electronics at York University, and mother Sue, 64, a charity worker, are understood to have travelled to London from their home in York. They are being helped in the search by her sister Katie and brother James.

In a statement, the family said: ‘With every day that goes by we are getting more worried about Sarah. 

‘She is always in regular contact with us and with her friends and it is totally out of character for her to disappear like this.

‘We long to see her and want nothing more than for her to be found safe and well.

‘We are so grateful to the police and all our friends for all they are doing.

‘We are desperate for news and if anyone knows anything about what has happened to her, we would urge you to please come forward and speak to the police. No piece of information is too insignificant.’ 

Ahead of the arrests on Tuesday, Ms Goodwin, who is leading the investigation, said there was no information to suggest Ms Everard had ‘come to any harm’.

She added: ‘We’ve released two new images of Sarah as we continue to search for her.

‘Please take a look at them and consider if you saw her on the night she went missing. I am interested in hearing from people who may have been in the area from 9.30pm onward.

‘I want to remain clear that at this time we have no information to suggest that Sarah has come to any harm and we retain an open mind as to the circumstances.

‘We share the wish of her family and friends to have her back safely with her loved ones.’

Police said they had received more than 120 calls from the public and visited 750 homes as part of their investigation into Miss Everard’s disappearance.

Ms Goodwin added: ‘We have seized a number of CCTV recordings but we know that there are likely to be many more out there.

‘Please, even if you’re not sure, check your doorbell or CCTV footage just in case it holds a clue.

‘I’m also asking delivery drivers or anyone with dashcam footage who would have been in the Poynders Road area at approximately 9.30pm on Wednesday to come forward.’

The investigation is being treated as a missing person’s enquiry, but due to its complex nature it is being led by the Met’s Specialist Crime Command. 

Superintendent Kris Wright, from the Met’s Central South Area Command Unit which covers Clapham, said on Tuesday: ‘I know that Sarah’s disappearance is weighing on people’s minds and the local community is, of course, concerned about her and may even feel worried.

‘I want them to know that they should expect to see more police officers on patrol in the area as we continue to search for Sarah and talk with the community. If you want to approach them about any concerns you have, please do so. 

‘We are here to support the community and we genuinely want to help in any way we can.’ 

Earlier this week it was reported that other women had come forward to say they had been attacked in the streets around where Miss Everard vanished.

The Metropolitan Police is said to have received a report of a sexual assault on a lone female on January 14, on a road half-a-mile away from where Miss Everard was last seen.

Other women have also reportedly come forward to the police, saying they were followed by groups of men in nearby Balham. Another woman claimed she was followed while walking with a buggy.

The incidents are not thought to be linked to Miss Everard’s disappearance, but were reported to detectives investigating the case following Scotland Yard’s appeal for information.  

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.

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