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30th Sep 2021

Wayne Couzens sentenced to whole life order for murder of Sarah Everard

Jade Hayden

*This article contains references to sexual assault, rape, and kidnap. 

He was sentenced today.

Police officer Wayne Couzens has been sentenced to a whole life order for the murder of Sarah Everard.

Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, was murdered while walking home from a friend’s home in Clapham, south London, in March of this year. 

She was reported missing after she didn’t return to her home in Brixton Hill on the night of March 3. Couzens, a Metropolitan Police officer, was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and murder the following week, on March 9. Everard’s remains were discovered in a Kent woodland the next day.

Couzens was sentenced at London’s Old Bailey court today. He had initially pled guilty to rape and kidnapping and took responsibility for Everard’s death. He later pled guilty to murder.

Judge Lord Justice Fulford had previously discussed the possibility of a life prison sentence. The whole life order was handed down today, Thursday. This means he will never be eligible for parole.

Sky News reports that the court heard yesterday that Couzens had “arrested” Everard while she was walking, handcuffing her after producing his warrant card. He used a hired vehicle to commit the abduction and threw Everard’s phone into a Kent river after the murder.

Everard’s death sparked nationwide protests across the UK concerning the safety of women on the streets. A vigil for Sarah in Clapham Commons gained international interest after Met Police used force on a number of attendees. 

The Independent Office for Police Conduct is currently investigating whether the Met Police failed to properly investigate two cases of indecent exposure against Couzens days before Everard’s death.

The Met Police released a statement ahead of yesterday’s hearing, saying: “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.”