A British police officer has pleaded guilty to the kidnapping and rape of a woman on her way home in south London and whose body was found a week later in the woods.
An Old Bailey court in London learned on Tuesday that Wayne Couzens, 48, had accepted responsibility for Sarah Everard’s death, although he was not invited to plead a murder charge.
Members of Everard’s family appeared in court to assist the defendant in his case.
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Medical reports on the Metropolitan Police officer, who appeared via video link from Belmarsh prison, are being prepared. A new hearing before Judge Adrian Fulford will take place on July 9.
Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, disappeared as she walked home to a friend’s house in Clapham, south London on March 3. A major police investigation was opened and his body was found a week later in a forest in Kent County, more than 50 miles south-east of London.
Everard’s disappearance and murder sparked a nationwide uproar, with women sharing experiences of being threatened or attacked – or simply faced with the daily fear of violence when walking alone.
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The outcry was clearly evident during an unauthorized vigil on Clapham Common on March 14 which had been banned due to coronavirus restrictions. During the rally, Metropolitan Police officers grabbed several women and took them handcuffed to scream and scream at onlookers. The actions of the police have been widely condemned.
Metropolitan Police have expressed shock and horror at Everard’s murder. Couzens joined its ranks 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.
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