A British police officer pleaded guilty on Friday to the murder of a 33-year-old woman who was kidnapped on her way home from a friend’s house in south London.
Wayne Couzens previously admitted to kidnapping and raping Sarah Everard, a marketing executive who went missing on March 3. Couzens pleaded guilty to murder in a hearing before London’s Central Criminal Court, appearing by video link from Belmarsh high security prison.
A major police investigation was launched after Everhard’s disappearance. His body was found a week later in a forest more than 50 miles south-east of London.
SARAH EVERARD MURDER CASE: BRITISH POLICE PLAINS GUILTY OF Rape and Kidnapping
Everard’s search and news of his assassination sparked a nationwide uproar, with women sharing experiences of being threatened, attacked, or simply faced with the daily fear of violence when walking alone.
Police in the British capital have come under fire after some women attending a vigil for Everard were arrested for violating coronavirus restrictions.
Couzens, 48, joined the London Metropolitan Police in 2018 and had recently served in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, an armed unit tasked with guarding embassies in the capital and Parliament.
Prosecutor Tom Little said Couzens abducted Everard, a complete stranger, in a rental car hours after completing a 12-hour police shift. His body was found in a wood near land belonging to Couzens. Despite his guilty plea, prosecutors said Couzens had not disclosed where he raped and killed Everard.
“We still don’t know what prompted him to commit this appalling crime against a stranger,” said Carolyn Oakley of the Crown Prosecution Service. “Today is not a day to hear the facts about what happened to Sarah. Today is a day to remember Sarah, and our thoughts remain with her family and friends.”
Couzens is to be sentenced in a two-day hearing that will begin on September 29.
Police forces have expressed shock and horror at her crime, but face an investigation from the police watchdog into how she handled an indecent exposure allegation against Couzens days before the kidnapping Everard.
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Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said she told Everard’s family “how sorry I am for their loss, for their pain and suffering.”
“All of us at the Met are sickened, angry and devastated by this man’s truly horrific crimes,” she said. “Everyone in the police feels betrayed.”
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