Fury at under-fire Met Police over ‘derisory’ advice to women to ‘wave down a BUS’ if they don’t trust a male officer as force faces backlash over ‘deeply insulting’ guidance amid ‘serious questions’ at missed chances to stop killer cop

  • Met accused of releasing  ‘derisory’ strategy that puts onus on women rather than tackling violent men
  • Three serving Met officers are among six in a WhatsApp group with Wayne Couzens being investigated 
  • They allegedly shared ‘vile’ messages with Couzens in the months before he murdered Sarah Everard 
  • Police watchdog is investigating a total of 16 officers linked to the case amid claims of institutional misogyny 
  • Dame Cressida Dick is facing calls to resign as Priti Patel said the Met has ‘serious questions to answer’ 

The Met has vowed to make women safer after the murder of Sarah Everard (pictured) by a serving officer – but women say the new strategy is ‘deeply insulting’ 

The Met has today been accused of pouring scorn on frightened women in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder after the force’s new ‘deeply insulting’ and ‘derisory’ strategy designed to stop a police officer abducting them includes advice to ‘wave down a bus’ if arrested.

Scotland Yard is also advising that if a woman is stopped and doesn’t trust a male officer they should ‘run into a house’, ‘shout out to a passer-by’ or call 999. 

It came as Dame Cressida Dick came under more pressure to resign over the scandal – and the force’s toxic culture – after it emerged Couzens exchanged misogynistic, racist and homophobic texts with his police colleagues. 

Female officers also said they were afraid to report their male colleagues for misconduct due to fears they would be abandoned on calls or have their ‘heads kicked in’.

The Met also pledged to deploy 650 new officers and increase patrols to do more to protect women and girls in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder by Wayne Couzens – but critics questioned why they weren’t doing that already. 

And anyone stopped on the street is encouraged to call 999 or use the officer’s radio to confirm their warrant card is genuine – but many have pointed out that many not have stopped Couzens kidnapping Sarah because his warrant card and number was genuine.

Even Sir Stephen House, the Met’s deputy commissioner, admitted yesterday that warrant cards may not be enough for officers to prove their identity in future.

Speaking to the BBC today, women said that they would now run away if stopped by a lone officer.  One said she would be ‘scared, frightened and try to get away from them because I wouldn’t trust any policeman again after what happened to Sarah’. Another said: ‘If it happened to me I’d be so worried I’d just get into my car and drive’. 

Women have said that the new advice piles more pressure on them – rather than tackling violent men – with some saying that it ‘grossly insulting’ with the Met accused of releasing a guide to ‘what they believe Sarah should have done’. 

Comedian Sooz Kempner said: ‘It’s deeply insulting to Sarah’s memory, her family and to women everywhere to now have “in future, ladies, here’s what you can do that Sarah failed to do to” spouted at us when taking some form of action against the man nicknamed “the rapist” by colleagues was always an option’.

She added: ‘Waving down a bus when you’re not even at a bus stop is a complete impossibility anyway, they don’t stop, you’d be lucky to get a second glance from the driver. And I dunno if you’ve heard but buses aren’t just constantly driving down every single road 24/7’.

Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy said: ‘We want to know what the Met are doing to address the deeply rooted problems with violence against women within the force. This completely derisory advice shows they’re still not taking it seriously. And they wonder why trust is at an all-time low?’

Left-wing commentator Ash Sarkar said: ‘Wayne Couzens was nicknamed ‘The Rapist’, shared racist and misogynistic messages with colleagues, and committed indecent in a car registered to him 72 hours before murdering someone. But it’s Sarah Everard who should’ve waved down a bus’.

This is the moment Wayne Couzens staged his fake arrest to lure Sarah Everard into being handcuffed and put in the back of his car. Women are now being urged to ‘hail a bus’ or ‘run’


Wayne Couzens (left) exchanged misogynistic, racist and homophobic texts with his police colleagues who are now facing a criminal investigation, it has been reported, as Dame Cressida Dick (right) faces calls to resign

Couzens lapped West and South-West London looking for a woman to snatch, rape and murder before finding poor Sarah

The under-fire Met Police has revealed a new ‘strategy’ to protect women after Sarah Everard’s horrific killing, including banning lone plain-clothed officers from operating alone, increasing patrols in ‘hotspot’ areas, and reviewing how they investigate reports of indecent exposure.  

Last night, the Met revealed steps it believes will help reassure the public, as it admitted Miss Everard’s killing was part of a ‘much bigger and troubling picture’ of women being killed in the streets. The new strategy includes:  

Plain-clothed officers banned from going out on their own and public are told to challenge them 

Plain clothes officers will not be deployed on their own and will be ‘in pairs’, Deputy Commissioner Sir Stephen House said, but he warned there will be occasions where that is not possible given that off-duty officers not in uniform ‘put themselves on duty’ when they come across an incident.

As Couzens kidnapped Ms Everard by carrying out a false arrest with his warrant card, the Met have also issued advice to anyone who is concerned a police officer is not acting legitimately during an interaction. 

They recommend people ask where the officer’s colleagues are, where they have come from, why they are there, and exactly why they are stopping or talking to them.

They also suggest verifying the police officer by asking to hear their radio operator or asking to speak to the radio operator themselves.

‘All officers will, of course, know about this case and will be expecting in an interaction like that – rare as it may be – that members of the public may be understandably concerned and more distrusting than they previously would have been, and should and will expect to be asked more questions,’ the force said in a statement.

Other ‘searching questions’ the force recommended include, ‘Where are your colleagues?’, ‘Where have you come from?’, ‘Why are you here?’ and ‘Exactly why are you stopping or talking to me?’ 

Finally, the Met Police are advising people to shout out to a passer-by, run into a house, knock on a door, wave a bus down, or call 999. 

650 extra officers in busy public places and more patrols in ‘hotspots’ where women feel unsafe  

The force announced that 650 new officers will be deployed in public places to better protect women and girls in the wake of Miss Everard’s murder.

After stinging criticism over its handling of the case, the force vowed to increase patrols and publish a new strategy for tackling violence against women.

The strategy will outline how the Met will prioritise action against sexual and violent predatory offenders.

The force said it had also set up ‘predatory offender units’, which have arrested more than 2,000 suspects for domestic abuse, sex offences, and child abuse since November.

The 650 new officers will be sent into busy public places, including areas where women and girls ‘lack confidence that they are safe’, the Met said. 

The force will ‘step up’ patrols and provide an increased police presence in areas identified as hotspot locations for violence and harassment. 

It said: ‘The full horrific details of [Wayne Couzens’] crimes are deeply concerning and raise entirely legitimate questions.

‘This is the most horrific of crimes, but we recognise this is part of a much bigger and troubling picture.’

The spokesman said other recent murders ‘bring into sharp focus our urgent duty to do more to protect women and girls’. 

More attention for reports of indecent exposure after missed chances to stop Couzens 

Some 72 hours before the murder, staff at a drive-through McDonald’s restaurant in Swanley told police that two female staff members had been flashed by a motorist who exposed himself on February 7 and again on February 27.

But despite being given CCTV evidence and the number plate of Couzens’ car, detectives did not link the two incidents to the killer officer.

Had he been identified as a suspected sex offender, Couzens is likely to have been suspended and had his warrant card removed. 

Last night, the Met said the report was allocated for investigation but ‘it was not concluded’ by the time Miss Everard was abducted. 

The force vowed to ‘re-evaluate’ its approach to indecent exposure, which criminologists say is often an early sign of sexual deviancy that can manifest itself later in violence. 

The Met said: ‘We are reviewing our crime screening process in respect of indecent exposure. We want to better understand the information we have as part of our approach to the identification and policing of crime hotspots.

‘We believe this is an under-reported crime.

‘We do not underestimate how difficult it can be for people to talk about these offences but we would urge anyone who is the victim of this sort of offending to report it to us quickly so we can respond.

‘We are also focused on improving detections both for indecent exposure but for a broader range of offences committed mainly against women.’   

Review of vetting procedures after killer cop ‘slipped through the net’ 

The Met said a vetting check ‘may not have been carried out correctly’ on Couzens when he joined the force in 2018, linking him to another indecent exposure allegation in Kent in 2015.

The vetting did not flag up that a vehicle associated with Couzens had been identified in the Kent Police investigation.

The Met said: ‘Our review found that the record of this allegation and outcome may not have been found during the vetting checks.’

Despite this, the force still maintained that it had ‘no information available at the time’ that would have changed its decision to allow Couzens to serve. 

Last night, it said it had written to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), which is currently carrying out an inspection of the Met, to ask it to pay ‘particular attention’ to how officers are vetted. 

Sir Stephen House accepted the case has raised questions on recruitment and vetting, adding: ‘We know we have to work to rebuild trust and confidence, and we will do all we can to achieve that.’ 

Couzens transferred into the Met from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) in September 2018. His first posting was to South Area, serving initially in a Safer Neighbourhood Team, before joining a response team covering the Bromley area in February 2019.

He then moved to the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command in February 2020 where his primary role was to patrol diplomatic premises, mainly embassies. 

… But off-duty officers will still be allowed to carry around police equipment 

Before the attack members of the public had noticed Couzens wearing his police belt when not on duty, with a pair of handcuffs and black pepper spray holder.

During the kidnap, he flashed his police ID to carry out a fake Covid arrest before cuffing Miss Everard in his car and strangling her with his police belt. 

Nonetheless, the force suggested banning officers from carrying any of their equipment while not on duty would be impractical.  

The force said: ‘The fact that he used equipment given to him by the Met is reprehensible and it compounds the dreadful nature of his crimes.

‘Nevertheless, it has to be the case that officers are able, on occasion, to take some or all of their equipment with them, between places of duty and where needed, travelling to and from work. 

‘They do not require explicit permission. It is a personal decision that has to be done for legitimate reasons and that they will have to justify if challenged.

Commissioner Cressida Dick said yesterday she was ‘sorry’ and ‘sickened’ at how Couzens was able to abuse his position to kidnap, rape and murder the 33-year-old amid fresh calls for her to resign. 

Lord Justice Fulford said his decision to hand Couzens, 48, a whole-life tariff was significantly influenced by the way he had exploited his role as a police officer, a fact he said made the offence equal in seriousness to a murder carried out by a terrorist. 

The force has announced that 650 new officers will be deployed in public places to better protect women and girls in the wake of Miss Everard’s murder.

After stinging criticism over its handling of the case, the force vowed to increase patrols and publish a new strategy for tackling violence against women.

The strategy will outline how the Met will prioritise action against sexual and violent predatory offenders.

The force said it had also set up ‘predatory offender units’, which have arrested more than 2,000 suspects for domestic abuse, sex offences, and child abuse since November.

The 650 new officers will be sent into busy public places, including areas where women and girls ‘lack confidence that they are safe’, the Met said. The force will ‘step up’ patrols and provide an increased police presence in areas identified as hotspot locations for violence and harassment.

A Met Police spokesman said: ‘The full horrific details of [Wayne Couzens’] crimes are deeply concerning and raise entirely legitimate questions. This is the most horrific of crimes, but we recognise this is part of a much bigger and troubling picture.’

The spokesman said other recent murders ‘bring into sharp focus our urgent duty to do more to protect women and girls’.

Wayne Couzens exchanged misogynistic, racist and homophobic texts with his police colleagues who are now facing a criminal investigation, it has been claimed.

Five serving officers, three of whom work for the Metropolitan Police, and one former officer, allegedly shared horrific content with Sarah Everard’s killer on a WhatsApp group in the months before the murder.

After his arrest in March, detectives found the ‘vile’ texts on his phone which the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IOPC) said were of a ‘discriminatory and/or inappropriate nature’.

Aside from the three serving officers working for the Met, one under investigation is from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and another works for Norfolk Constabulary, according to The Times.

The former officer in the group also previously worked for the Met, whose chief Dame Cressida Dick is yet again facing calls to resign.

When Sue Fish, a former chief constable of Nottinghamshire, was asked on Times Radio if she believed the police force was institutionally misogynistic, she replied: ‘Yes, I do. And that’s not just the Metropolitan Police, that’s policing, structurally, across the country.’

The IOPC said in a statement: ‘They are being investigated for gross misconduct for allegedly sending messages of a discriminatory and/or inappropriate nature, and for allegedly failing to challenge the messages sent by the others.

‘Two of the MPS officers and the former MPS officer have also been notified that they are being criminally investigated for improper use of the public electronic communications network under Section 127 of the Communications Act.

‘Criminal or gross misconduct investigations do not necessarily mean that charges or disciplinary proceedings will follow.’

The police watchdog is investigating the conduct of a total of 15 officers and a former officer linked to the Ms Everard case.

Asked earlier whether Couzens was a ‘bad apple’ in the police or an extreme example of an institutional problem, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said: ‘I’m wrestling with that myself.’

Others under investigation by the IOPC include a Scotland Yard probationer on the cordon at the scene where her body was discovered. 

He is alleged to have sent a shocking WhatsApp message showing how a policeman could abduct and kill a woman as a joke.

Two other constables on probation are also being investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct over allegations they shared the graphic and failed to challenge it. 

Another inquiry is underway separately into Police Federation members accused of breaching standards of professional behaviour by sharing information linked to the case on a secure messaging app.

The IOPC has said it will seek to conclude the investigations ‘as swiftly as possible’. 

Meanwhile, it has emerged that 771 Met officers and staff have faced sexual misconduct allegations since 2010, with at least 44 convicted of sexual offences.

Freedom of Information figures reveal that 163 were arrested and 83 were sacked without notice.

Of those arrested, 78 were charged and 44 convicted. 

At least 18 were jailed and nine were given suspended jail sentences. 

The allegations included rape, sexual harassment, sexual assault and abusing a position of power for sex.

Some 89 per cent of officers and staff members who faced an internal investigation over complaints were male. Formal action was taken in 156 cases. 

As well as the sackings, 46 people retired or resigned once the complaint against them was upheld.

Of the sexual misconduct claims, it was found that there was no case to answer or the allegation was unsubstantiated on 446 occasions.

The force is Britain’s largest, with 43,000 officers and staff. 

It has 25 per cent of the total police budget for England and Wales.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said last night: ‘We take any police-perpetrated abuse incidents extremely seriously and they are regularly scrutinised at a senior level.

‘Any allegation, disclosure or conviction of sexual harassment or abuse perpetrated by an officer or member of staff is robustly investigated.’

He stressed: ‘Tackling sexual offences is a priority for the Met – and that includes when our own officers or staff are accused of offences. 

‘The Met will not hesitate to bring forward prosecutions and disciplinary procedures where there is evidence to do so.’

It comes as Met chief Cressida Dick faces a clamour to resign after she admitted Sarah Everard’s murder had corroded trust in the police and brought ‘shame’ on her force.

In what was described as Scotland Yard’s ‘darkest day’, a string of MPs, including the chairman of the women and equalities select committee, said Dame Cressida should go.

They said it was clear she could not restore faith in Britain’s biggest police force after one of her officers, Wayne Couzens, was sentenced to a whole-life term for Miss Everard’s murder. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the force had ‘serious questions to answer’ – and refused to give the beleaguered Met Commissioner her public backing.

As it was revealed police may have had enough information to identify Couzens as a sexual deviant before he raped and killed Miss Everard, Dame Cressida gave a humbled apology on the steps of the Old Bailey.

But as she apologised on behalf of the force, the Yard chief was heckled by protesters shouting ‘resign’. 

Miss Everard’s family said the world was a ‘safer place’ after 48-year-old Couzens was sentenced to die in prison, with the judge saying his ‘warped, selfish and brutal offending’ had ‘eroded’ confidence in British policing.

The case has triggered immense public and political outrage after it emerged Couzens abused police powers to ‘arrest’ and abduct the 33-year-old marketing executive. 

Officers did not check his vehicle records, which would have revealed a link to an indecent exposure in Kent in 2015 when Couzens was reported by a male motorist for driving around naked from the waist down.

Despite this failure, Met Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave provoked astonishment when he said Couzens would still have got into the force even if vetting officers had known, because Kent Police failed to identify Couzens – then one of their own special constables – as the driver and decided it did not merit any further action.

In another missed opportunity, 72 hours before the murder, staff at a drive-through McDonald’s restaurant in Swanley told police that two female staff members had been flashed by a motorist who exposed himself on February 7 and again on February 27.

But despite being given CCTV evidence and the number plate of Couzens’ car, detectives did not link the two incidents to the killer officer.

Had he been identified as a suspected sex offender, Couzens is likely to have been suspended and had his warrant card removed.

Mr Ephgrave said he didn’t know whether Miss Everard’s murder could have been prevented if vetting checks had been carried out properly , saying: ‘If any of those things had been in a different order, would the outcome have been different? Well maybe.’

The police watchdog is investigating the conduct of 15 officers and one former officer linked to the Sarah Everard (pictured) case

 

Quizzed by police, Couzens (pictured in handcuffs) lied that he had been ‘leant on’ by an Eastern European gang who threatened to harm his family if he did not agree to pick up a woman

Mr Ephgrave admitted trust in the police had been seriously damaged, adding: ‘One of my daughters said to me, ‘Dad, what am I supposed to do if I get stopped (by a policeman) coming home?’ 

It is understood that Dame Cressida will be called in by the Home Secretary following next week’s Tory party conference to discuss the issue.

Meanwhile, detectives from the Met Police are actively investigating if Couzens is connected to any further historic crimes.

Officers this evening appealed for any so-far unknown victims of the sexual predator to contact them if they were targeted by him.

The Met action emerged hours after criminologists told MailOnline his crime suggested ‘he had done this before’.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: ‘As you would expect we continue to make enquiries to establish whether he has been involved in other criminal offences. As these investigations are ongoing we are unable to go into further detail although, at this time, we have not identified anything that is of the same level of seriousness as the crimes he has been sentenced for.

‘We are keen to hear from anyone who may have information about any criminality they believe Couzens was involved in.’ 


Criminologists Professor David Wilson and Dr David Holmes both say it is unlikely that this is Couzens first major crime

The killer rapist, 48, who staged a fake arrest as a ploy to trap Ms Everard in the back of his car, was this morning sentenced to a whole life order for his barbaric crimes.

But experts say the confidence in which he carried out the abduction shows he had done it before. And the way he disposed of Miss Everard’s body by burning her remains signalled ‘experienced behaviour’. 

The killer cop was nicknamed The Rapist because of his inappropriate behaviour around women, had an obsession with ‘brutal porn’ and flashed McDonald’s workers before murdering Sarah Everard on March 3. 

But he still passed a vetting process that saw him put in charge of a gun as he stood guard at embassies in London for Met Police. 

The IOPC is also looking into Kent Police – where Couzens used to work as a volunteer – after it was accused of not investigating reports in 2015 that a man had been spotted driving down a road with no trousers on. 

Met Police admitted ‘one of a range of checks’ when Couzens applied to join the force ‘may not have been undertaken correctly’.

Couzens’ car numberplate was linked to the 2015 indecent exposure but Met Police blamed the Kent force, claiming ‘Kent Police investigated this allegation and decided to take no further action. Our review found that the record of this allegation and outcome may not have been found during the vetting checks.’

It comes as a list of eight blunders that left Couzens free to kill were revealed. 

CCTV footage (pictured) captured by a passing bus showed Miss Everard in the back seat of Couzens’ hire car after she was falsely ‘arrested’

The deranged Met Protection Officer, who was wearing his police belt containing handcuffs, can be seen producing his warrant card as he claimed Miss Everard had breached Covid restrictions

Couzens’ car is seen driving along Cavendish Road at 9.32pm, just minutes before he pulled over and stopped Miss Everard 

Miss Everard was taken out of the hire car and forced into Couzens’ own car (pictured) in a switch made at 11.30pm on North Military Road in Dover, Kent

How events in the Sarah Everard case unfolded

  • 2015: Kent Police allegedly fail to investigate an indecent exposure incident linked to Wayne Couzens.
  • September 2018: Couzens transfers to the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC).
  • 2019: Couzens and his wife buy a small area of woodland off Fridd Lane in Ashford, Kent.
  • February 2019: The Pc joins a response team covering the Bromley area of south London, having initially served in a Safer Neighbourhood Team.
  • February 2020: He moves to the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command to patrol diplomatic premises, mainly embassies.
  • February 2021: The 48-year-old is linked to two allegations of indecent exposure in London, which it is claimed Scotland Yard failed to investigate.
  • February 28: Couzens books a white Vauxhall Astra from a car hire firm in Dover, Kent, using his personal details and bank card. He also purchases a roll of self-adhesive film advertised as a carpet protector on Amazon.
  • March 2: 7pm – Couzens starts a 12-hour shift at his base in West Brompton, west London.
  • March 3: On the day of her disappearance, Sarah Everard visits a friend in the Clapham Junction area and uses her bank card to buy a bottle of wine in Sainsbury’s in Brixton Hill, south London, on her way.
  • 4.45pm – Couzens collects the hire car.
  • 9pm – Ms Everard leaves to walk home, some 2.5 miles away.
  • 9.13pm – She calls her boyfriend for a little over 14 minutes.
  • 9.15pm – Ms Everard is captured alone on CCTV at the junction of Bowood Road and the South Circular.
  • 9.28pm – The next sighting is on Cavendish Road and she is still alone.
  • 9.32pm – Ms Everard is caught on the camera on a marked police car.
  • 9.35pm – A bus camera captures two figures on Poynders Road standing beside a white Vauxhall Astra parked on the pavement with hazard lights flashing.
  • 9.38pm – Another bus camera captures the same vehicle with the two front car doors open.
  • – March 4: 1am – Having travelled out of London, the car is in the Tilmanstone area of Kent.
  • 8.30am – Couzens returns the hire car used in the abduction.
  • 8.10pm – Ms Everard is reported missing by her boyfriend, Josh Lowth.
  • March 5: The case is escalated and the Specialist Crime Unit becomes involved. Couzens, who is due to be off until March 8, reports to work that he is suffering with stress.
  • 2pm – He buys two green rubble bags for £9.94 at B&Q in Dover.
  • March 6: Couzens emails his supervisor that he no longer wants to carry a firearm. He orders a tarpaulin and a bungee cargo net on Amazon which are shipped to him the next day.
  • March 8: The officer reports in sick on the day he is due to return to work.
  • March 9: 7.11pm – Couzens’ phone is wiped of all data.
  • 7.50pm – Couzens is arrested at his home in Deal, Kent. In a brief interview, he tells a story about being threatened by an Eastern European gang.
  • March 10: At around 4.45pm, a body is discovered in a wooded area in Ashford, Kent, and later formally identified by dental records. It is around 100 metres from land owned by Couzens.
  • March 11: Couzens answers “no comment” in formal interviews.
  • March 12: 8.45pm: Couzens is charged.
  • July 9: Couzens pleads guilty to murder when he appears at the Old Bailey by video link from Belmarsh high security jail. 
  • September 29: Couzens faces a possible whole life order when he is sentenced.

 

In summarising the case as he sentenced Couzens, Lord Justice Fulford spoke at length at the detailed plans he had made to snatch a victim off the street.

He told the Old Bailey the killer ‘spent at least a month travelling to London to research’, adding ‘The degree of preparation and the length of time over which it extended is to be stressed’.

The Met Police did not respond to whether he was being linked to any other serious crimes today. His previous force Kent is not believed to be looking at any historic offences.

But criminologist Professor David Wilson told MailOnline: ‘I am absolutely convinced he is being looked at for other things. Everything revealed yesterday suggests Couzens has behaved in this way before.

‘It suggests to me this wasn’t his first offence. Nobody moves into this type of behaviour overnight – they are a long time in the making. Nothing would surprise me about Wayne Couzens and Wayne Couzens’ previous offending.

CCTV footage of Miss Everard captured earlier on the night she was kidnapped in March, sparking a nationwide hunt

Miss Everard queued at Sainsbury’s with a bottle of red wine as she headed to see a friend for dinner after work

Just hours before she was abducted and murdered Miss Everard was enjoying a normal Wednesday evening

Miss Everard walked from her home to see a friend via a Sainsbury’s in Brixton Hill, south London


CCTV taken at 5.52pm on March 3 showed Miss Everard walking along Craster Road in Brixton, south London

‘I would treat him in the same category as John Worboys – because of the circumstances of him using his occupation to target lone women.

‘He was engaged in a lot of planning. One of the riskiest things was he drove her 80 miles with a handcuffed woman in the back of his car.

‘The fact he did suggests he thought he was safe and that must come from the fact he has done something similar in the past. 

‘What was unusual – and suggests his experience – was his disposal of the body. Burning someone’s remains is a good way to get rid of it. All of that suggests this is experienced behaviour.’ 

Miss Everard’s boyfriend Josh Lowth arrives for the sentencing of her killer, policeman Couzens at the Old Bailey 


Couzens, 48, was today given a whole life sentence for kidnap, rape and murder of Miss Everard. He will die in jail 

This fridge was used by Couzens to burn Miss Everard’s clothing and body just yards from his own plot of land. Criminologists have told MailOnline that his meticulous planning for the disposal of Miss Everard’s body shows ‘experienced behaviour’, suggesting he may have struck before


The two vehicles used in killer cop’s horrific crime: How Couzens used a rental Vauxhall Crossland and his own Seat family vehicle to commit his horrific crime. First, prowling central London for a lone woman before parking up in Clapham and confronting Miss Everard

The Old Bailey heard horrific details of the serving police officer’s deceit and Sarah’s final hours before she was raped, murdered and burned in a pre-meditated attack that was weeks in the planning: 

  • Prosecution say five words summarise what PC Wayne Couzens did to Sarah Everard: ‘Deception, kidnap, rape, strangulation, fire’; 
  • Friends in Deal said Couzens was regularly seen wearing his police belt with handcuffs and pepper spray, when not on duty, and he lied that he was an undercover police officer;
  • In December 2020 he joined Match.com and said he had no wife and children. He also signed up to an escort agency; 
  • In January 2021, Couzens worked on COVID patrols and ‘used this knowledge’ to kidnap his victim, who he stopped after doing laps of west and south-west London on the night of March 3, 2021;
  • On February 10 he bought a ‘police standard issue handcuff key with double locking pin’ from Amazon, which he used on his police-issue cuffs to detain Sarah Everard and force her into his hire car;
  • On February 28, Couzens booked a hire car online from Enterprise and ordered a 100m roll of carpet protector film from Amazon, used to line the boot where he eventually kept Sarah’s body;
  • He had told his wife that he was working a night shift when he grabbed Sarah – in fact he was off duty and cruising the streets looking for a victim;
  • A couple driving past witnessed the kidnapping. Couzens using his warrant card and handcuffs to make a false arrest. They believed she had ‘done something wrong’ so didn’t intervene;  
  • A former boyfriend said Sarah was ‘extremely intelligent, savvy and streetwise’ and would never get into a stranger’s vehicle ‘unless by force or by manipulation’, which is exactly what Couzens did; 
  • Sarah was driven 80 miles to the Kent coast, where she was raped and murdered after a five-hour ordeal; 
  • In 2019 Wayne Couzens bought plot of woodland in Hoads Wood near Ashford. He bragged it was ‘perfect for day trips’ – but it’s where he burned Sarah’s body and dumped it in bags in shallow water; 
  • Couzens took his family on a trip to the woods where he burned Miss Everard’s body – allowing his children to play near where it was dumped;
  • Phoned vet to arrange for an appointment to see his dog and handed in his Met Police firearms licence; 
  • Lied about being forced to ‘pick up a girl’ by an Eastern European gang who threatened his family;
  • Admits to killing her with his belt – with prosecution saying injuries were consistent with his police belt;
  • Couzens repeatedly self-harmed in his cell, as police divers found Miss Everard’s phone in the River Stour; 
  • Miss Everard’s father demanded killer ‘look me in the face’, mother said she was ‘haunted’ by murder and sister called Couzens ‘a monster’;
  • Court also heard how Couzens was ‘attracted to brutal sexual pornography’.

It comes as Couzens has been linked to an incident three days before Miss Everard was kidnapped which saw two members of staff being flashed at a branch of McDonald’s in south London. 

‘Nothing can bring her back – but knowing he will be imprisoned forever brings some relief’: Sarah Everard’s family react to Couzens’ whole life term

Police officer killer of Sarah Everard (pictured) was sentenced to life without parole today

‘We are very pleased that Wayne Couzens has received a full life sentence and will spend the rest of his life in jail. Nothing can make things better, nothing can bring Sarah back, but knowing he will be imprisoned forever brings some relief.

‘Sarah lost her life needlessly and cruelly and all the years of life she had yet to enjoy were stolen from her. Wayne Couzens held a position of trust as a police officer and we are outraged and sickened that he abused this trust in order to lure Sarah to her death. The world is a safer place with him imprisoned.

‘It is almost seven months since Sarah died and the pain of losing her is overwhelming. We miss her all the time. She was a beautiful young woman in looks and character and our lives are the poorer without her. We remember all the lovely things about Sarah – her compassion and kindness, her intelligence, her strong social conscience. But we especially like to remember her laughing and dancing and enjoying life. We hold her safe in our hearts.

‘We are immensely grateful to the police and legal team who worked on Sarah’s case. We cannot thank them enough for their meticulous and painstaking work and for their constant support. We also send our heartfelt thanks to our family and friends for comforting us through this terrible time.’

The Met is being investigated by the IOPC for allegedly failing to probe these two separate incidents, despite apparently being provided with CCTV. Couzens was only identified as a suspect after Miss Everard’s murder. 

Questions have also been asked about how the Met Police’s vetting process failed to pick up concerns around Couzens before he was made an armed officer in its elite Diplomatic Protection Group, which involved him guarding embassies, VIPs and members of the Royal Family. 

A McDonald’s worker today claimed Couzens exposed himself to her three weeks before killing Miss Everard as she was working at a drive-thru on the A20 near Swanley in Kent at the start of February. 

Couzens was allegedly nicknamed ‘The Rapist’ by colleagues in the Civil Nuclear Constabulary – where he was involved in protecting nuclear power stations – because of his inappropriate behaviour around women. 

HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Tom Winsor said the nickname was known by some officers.

Sir Tom told the BBC Couzens ‘also had allegedly a reputation in terms of drug abuse, extreme pornography and other offences of this kind’. 

Couzens used to work at his father’s garage in Dover before joining the Kent Special Constabulary at some point after 2002. 

The court heard a colleague in that year spoke of ‘his attraction to brutal sexual pornography’ but Jim Sturman QC, defending, said it related to a single incident ‘which is almost impossible to examine now’. 

The court heard he used prostitutes and had a fake Match.com dating profile despite being married with two children. In 2018 it has been claimed he was reported to bosses for slapping a female police officer’s bottom at Bromley police station. It appears no action was taken, a source claimed.

While at Bromley, it is also alleged he became the subject of gossip for only stopping female motorists – before taking their details so he could watch their homes – and parking outside schools to leer at mothers and sixth formers. 

The Met said: ‘Couzens was a serving and vetted police officer when he joined the Met. He had no criminal convictions or cautions and he was not subject to any misconduct proceedings during his time at the MPS. We are aware of no other concerns raised by his colleagues or anyone regarding his behaviour.’ 

The force admitted mistakes were made during Couzens’ vetting process.

A spokesman added: ‘Following his arrest, as the public would expect, we reviewed his vetting. This review confirmed he passed vetting processes. However, it also found one of a range of checks may not have been undertaken correctly. 

‘This check related to information regarding a vehicle which was registered to Couzens and that was linked to an allegation of indecent exposure in Kent in 2015. 

‘Kent Police investigated this allegation and decided to take no further action. Our review found that the record of this allegation and outcome may not have been found during the vetting checks. 

‘However, the review we conducted found that despite this there was no information available to the Met at the time that would have changed the vetting decision. We continue to build up a picture of Couzens’ career and wider activities. 

‘We would like to appeal for anyone who has information of concern about Couzens – whether police colleagues or members of the public – to contact us directly.’

Meanwhile, a McDonald’s worker told MailOnline she saw Couzens pulling up by the order hatch with his trousers down. Met Police has not commented on this claim and the worker did not suggest the Met knew Couzens had done this and allowed him to carry on working.

The staff member – who said she recognised Couzens from the news coverage after he was identified as Miss Everard’s killer, told MailOnline: ‘The whole has thing left me quite disturbed. He casually pulled up to the serving hatch having ordered his food and I could clearly see that he was naked from below the waist.

‘It was not the first time that he had done this when he came to McDonald’s, but I was the only female member of staff to report it. I’m glad I took a stand and alerted the authorities because it was the right thing do. But I never imagined that he would go on to murder a woman, it’s tragic.’ 

The devout Christian said she reported the alleged incident to police. MailOnline has contacted the Met for comment. 

‘I can never hold her again’: Sarah’s mother Susan says she now hugs daughter’s dressing gown

Susan Everard, mother of Sarah Everard

Sarah Everard, 14th June 1987 to March 2021 

Susan Everard, Sarah’s mother

‘Sarah is gone and I am broken hearted. She was my precious little girl, our youngest child. The feeling of loss is so great it is visceral. And with the sorrow come waves of panic at not being able to see her again. I can never talk to her, never hold her again, and never more be a part of her life. We have kept her dressing gown – it still smells of her and I hug that instead of her.

‘Sarah died in horrendous circumstances. I am tormented at the thought of what she endured. I play it out in my mind. I go through the terrible sequence of events. I wonder when she realized she was in mortal danger; I wonder what her murderer said to her. When he strangled her, for how long was she conscious, knowing she would die? It is torture to think of it. Sarah was handcuffed, unable to defend herself and there was no one to rescue her. She spent her last hours on this earth with the very worst of humanity. She lost her life because Wayne Couzens wanted to satisfy his perverted desires. It is a ridiculous reason, it is nonsensical; how could he value a human life so cheaply? I cannot comprehend it. I am incandescent with rage at the thought of it. He treated my daughter as if she was nothing and disposed of her as if she was rubbish.

‘If Sarah had died because of an illness, she would have been cared for. We could have looked after her and been with her. If she had died because of an accident, people would have tried to help – there would have been kindness. But there is no comfort to be had, there is no consoling thought in the way Sarah died. In her last hours she was faced with brutality and terror, alone with someone intent on doing her harm. The thought of it is unbearable. I am haunted by the horror of it.

‘When Sarah went missing we suffered days of agony, not knowing where she was or what had happened to her. Then, when Sarah’s burnt remains were found, we spent two terrible days waiting for tests to show how she had died, fearing she had been set alight before she was dead – the thought was appalling.

‘Burning her body was the final insult, it meant we could never again see her sweet face and never say goodbye.

‘Our lives will never be the same. We should be a family of five, but now we are four. Her death leaves a yawning chasm in our lives that cannot be filled. I yearn for her. I remember all the lovely things about her: she was caring, she was funny. She was clever, but she was good at practical things too. She was a beautiful dancer. She was a wonderful daughter. She was always there to listen, to advise, or simply to share with the minutiae of the day. And she was also a strongly principled young woman who knew right from wrong and who lived by those values. She was a good person. She had purpose to her life.

‘My outlook on life has changed since Sarah died: I am more cautious; I worry more about our other children. I crave the familiarity and security of home; the wider world has lost its appeal. It is too painful to contemplate a future without Sarah, so I just live in the here and now. I think of Sarah all the time, but the mornings and evenings are particularly painful. In the morning I wake up to the awful reality that Sarah is gone. In the evenings, at the time she was abducted, I let out a silent scream: Don’t get in the car, Sarah. Don’t believe him. Run!

‘I am repulsed by the thought of Wayne Couzens and what he did to Sarah. I am outraged that he masqueraded as a policeman in order to get what he wanted. Sarah wanted to get married and have children, now all that has gone. He took her life and stole her future and we will never have the joy of sharing that future with her. Each day dawns and I think, Sarah should be here, leading her life and embracing new experiences. She had so many years ahead of her.

‘I don’t know how anyone could be so cruel as to take my daughter’s life. What I do know is that Sarah will never be forgotten and is remembered with boundless love.

‘I cling on to memories of Sarah, I hold them tight to keep them safe. The other night, I dreamt that Sarah appeared at home. In my dream I held her and could feel her physically. Jeremy was there, we were comforting her, saying ‘it’s alright Sarah, it’s alright’. I would give anything to hold her once more; I hope I dream that dream again.’

The Met is already being investigated by the police watchdog for its alleged failure to investigate two flashings later attributed to Couzens at a McDonald’s in south London three days before he kidnapped, raped and murdered Miss Everard. 

Depraved Couzens used his Metropolitan Police-issue warrant card and handcuffs to snatch Miss Everard as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham, south London, on the evening of March 3.

Couzens, a firearms officer, had clocked off from a 12-hour shift at the American embassy that morning but in the time leading up to the kidnap had cruised the capital looking for a victim.

He posed as an undercover officer to stage the fake arrest before driving to a secluded rural area near Dover in Kent, where he parked up and raped Miss Everard.

Prof Wilson added: ‘The detail that were released were all about behaviour and they were practiced and controlled.

‘They were quite obviously related to his sexual fantasies. In my experience nobody makes their sexual fantasies a reality overnight.

‘The fake arrest may well be a signifier in his behaviour. He is quite clearly interested in uniform, sadism and masochism, control and handcuffs.

‘His nickname was apparently ‘the rapist’ at work, he had obviously other complaints of indecent exposures to women previous to Sarah’s murder.

‘We have to take these indecent exposures as a very serious indicator of abhorrent sexual behaviour.

‘He is 48 years old, this is not a 25-year-old who is at the beginning of his offending career.

‘This is somebody who is mature who has had a lot of life experience and that is an indicator his past life needs looking into.’

Criminal psychologist Dr David Holmes agreed police should appeal for any more potential victims of Couzens.

He told MailOnline: ‘This is unlikely to be his first offence, he has just not been caught before. I think some kind of public appeal would be a good idea.

‘This kind of behaviour does not suddenly emerge. The cold, calm way he did it would say this is something that was part of his repertoire.

‘It may be his first killing but I would have thought he had toyed around with this and possibly have a long litany of encounters where he has used his ability to have power over others.

‘This pretty unlikely to be the first time he has done something of this nature.’ 

Married father-of-two Couzens burned Miss Everard’s body in a refrigerator in an area of woodland he owned in Hoads Wood, near Ashford, before dumping the remains in a nearby pond.

Lord Justice Fulford, handing him a rare whole life order, spoke of the detailed planning he had carried out before he struck.

He said: ‘The defendant spent at least a month travelling to London to research how best to commit these crimes.

‘The degree of preparation and the length of time over which it extended is to be stressed.

‘He bought part of the wherewithal to handcuff his victim – a police standard issue handcuff key was purchased from Amazon on 10 February and was found in the front of the Seat – self-adhesive carpet protector film was purchased on 28 February and delivered on 1 March and 14 hair bands were purchased in a shop on 3 March at 8pm.

‘The protector film had been used but its precise purpose is unknown. The hairbands were either for use in order to maintain an erection or as a means of restraint. This has not been disputed.

‘He hired a car on 28 February which he drove to London on 3 March. He had parked the Seat motorcar in Dover in an area where there were no houses close by, with the result that it was less likely than otherwise would have been the case that there would be witnesses to what occurred, including any signs of distress or resistance by Sarah Everard when she was transferred from the hire car to the Seat.

‘He used, therefore, the hire car, as opposed to his own vehicle, to kidnap Sarah Everard. He took some of his police kit with him to London, clearly in my view for use in this offending.

‘He lied to his family about working a night shift on 3 March and although he was in London that night, he avoided visiting the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command base in Lillie Road.

‘Instead, he covered extensive distances in the capital, beyond doubt, as suggested by Mr Little, hunting a lone young female to kidnap and rape. It follows from this that the defendant had planned well in advance, in all its unspeakably grim detail, what was to occur and when he encountered Sarah Everard all that was missing up to that point was his victim.’  

March 5: The case is escalated and the Specialist Crime Unit becomes involved. Couzens, who is due to be off until March 8, reports to work that he is suffering with stress. At 2pm he buys two green rubble bags for £9.94 at B&Q in Dover (pictured)

Susan Everard, Miss Everard’s mother, told Couzens he disgusted her and she was haunted by what he did to her daughter

Sarah’s father Jeremy, mother Susan, sister Katie and brother James are pictured arriving at the Old Bailey at a previous hearing. They confronted Couzens yesterday with heart-breaking impact statements but the cowardly killer refused to look at them from the dock

Yesterday’s hearing saw the chilling moment Miss Everard was handcuffed in the back of killer cop Couzens’ hire car before he drove her 80 miles to her death. 

Footage taken from a passing dashcam shows the 33-year-old stood on a pavement on Poynders Road in Clapham as Couzens, who was wearing handcuffs on his police belt, speaks to her. 

The twisted Met Protection Officer can be seen producing his warrant card as he claimed Miss Everard had breached Covid restrictions.

Couzens then cuffed her hands behind her back, leaving her incapable of undoing the seatbelt he strapped around her after ordering her into the back of his rental car. 

She was then driven for two hours to Dover where he forcibly moved her from the hire car into his own black Seat before continuing along remote back roads to Hoad’s Wood where he raped her, strangled her with his belt and stashed her body in a fridge.

CCTV footage showed the moment he went on to visit a BP garage in Dover on Friday, March 5 to buy and fill a petrol canister – believed to have been used to burn Miss Everard’s body

Couzens entered a petrol station in Dover to buy a cannister he would go on to fill with petrol 

A large number of significant items were found at his home, prosecutor Mr Little said. These included the beige hairbands he was seen buying in Tesco (pictured)

Couzens left the Tesco Superstore in Kensington, west London, after buying a pack of 14 hairbands at 8pm on March 3

Pictured: Items recovered from the car used by Couzens in the murder of Miss Everard

Whole life orders: the sentences that see killers die behind bars

 Whole life orders are the most severe punishment available in the UK criminal justice system for those who commit the most serious crimes.

If handed such a sentence, Wayne Couzens will join a string of some of the country’s most dangerous offenders who are expected to die behind bars.

There are 60 criminals serving whole life orders, according to Government figures to the end of June.

They will never be considered for release, unless there are exceptional compassionate grounds to warrant it.

Milly Dowler’s killer Levi Bellfield is thought to be the only criminal in UK legal history to be serving two whole life orders – for her murder, the killings of Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delagrange as well as the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy.

Other notorious criminals serving whole life orders include: Gloucester serial killer Rose West, Michael Adebolajo, one of Fusilier Lee Rigby’s killers; Mark Bridger, who murdered five-year-old April Jones in Wales; neo-Nazi Thomas Mair who killed MP Jo Cox; Grindr serial killer Stephen Port; and most recently the Reading terror attacker Khairi Saadallah, who murdered three men in a park.

Before they died, Moors murderer Ian Brady and his girlfriend Myra Hindley, Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, and doctor Harold Shipman – thought to be one of Britain’s most prolific serial killers – were also among those serving whole life orders.

In the past, home secretaries could issue whole life tariffs and these are now determined by judges.

Under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, the Government is trying to expand the use of whole life orders for premeditated murder of a child.

The reforms would also allow judges to hand out the maximum sentence to 18 to 20-year-olds in exceptional cases, such as for acts of terrorism leading to mass loss of life.

We will also give judges the discretion, in exceptional circumstances, to impose a whole life order on offenders aged 18 or over but under 21.

 

Miss Everard’s devastated family listened from the public gallery as the Old Bailey heard harrowing details of how Couzens took her to a rural area and raped her, before later being seen buying Lucozade and other drinks from BP station with her body in boot, after she was believed to have been murdered.

Distressing details of the timeline suggest Miss Everard could have been alive for more than four hours in the back of Couzens’ car. She was snatched off the street by 9.30pm and when the killer pulled into the garage at 2.30am, Sarah is thought to have been in his boot, already dead. 

The court heard he confessed to a psychiatrist that he had strangled Miss Everard with his belt, and the prosecution said her injuries were consistent with ones that would have been caused by his police belt.

Couzens – who had prepared for the abduction by buying a rental car and a sheet of film from Amazon – hid her body inside a fridge in a patch of rubbish-strewn woodland before torching it. 

Footage released by police showed the moment Couzens rented the car he would go on to use to prowl the streets of London for almost two hours before picking up Miss Everard.

While on duty on February 28, he booked a £65.30 hire car from Enterprise Rent-a-Car in Dover, which he collected on March 3, having decided his own was too old and filthy to be passed off as a police vehicle 

The CCTV clip showed Couzens calmly laughing with a female attendant. He joked ‘you’ve put me on the spot’ while trying to remember his phone number as she took his details.

He went on to visit a Tesco store in west London to buy a pack of 14 hairbands just an hour before Miss Everard was abducted on March 3, before making further trips to a B&Q two days after Miss Everard is believed to have been killed. He also visited a Homebase in Folkestone on the morning of Monday, March 8.

CCTV footage showed the moment he went on to visit a BP garage in Dover on Friday, March 5 to buy and fill a petrol canister – believed to have been used to burn Miss Everard’s body. 

Just days after the murder, the father-of-two took his wife and children on a family trip and allowed the youngsters to play near a pond where he had dumped Miss Everard’s remains, the prosecution said.

Couzens was arrested at his home in Deal, Kent, after police connected him to a hire car he used to abduct Ms Everard, whose remains were found by police dogs on March 10.

Taken to Wandsworth Police Station, he repeatedly tried to self-harm by banging his head on a sink and running into a wall, and was put under constant watch before appearing in court. 

He was sacked from the force after he pleaded guilty in July to her kidnap, rape and murder.

Before the attack members of the public had noticed Couzens wearing his police belt when not on duty, with a pair of handcuffs and black pepper spray holder.

‘This is the type of equipment that it can be inferred that the defendant was wearing when he kidnapped Sarah Everard,’ said Mr Little. 

A Met Police statement released on Thursday said: ‘It has to be the case that officers are able, on occasion, to take some or all of their equipment with them, between places of duty and where needed, travelling to and from work. They do not require explicit permission.’

Mr Little said: ‘It was not unusual for officers on PaDP to take personal protective and other equipment (including body armour and handcuffs) home with them from the Lillie Road base – they were required to undertake frequent training, at a number of different locations, to which they would travel directly. 

‘For convenience, they would often take home the kit needed.

‘Two members of the public had independently noticed seeing the defendant when he was not on duty wearing his Police belt with handcuffs and a rectangular black pouch (similar to a pepper spray holder) attached to it (whilst out in Deal walking his dog; and when attending a local computer hardware repair shop in the town).

‘This is the type of equipment that it can be inferred that the defendant was wearing when he kidnapped Sarah Everard.

‘It is instructive that in relation to the incident in the repair shop that when the owner asked the defendant jokingly if he was ‘into kinky stuff’ when he referred to the handcuffs that were visible on the defendant’s belt. The defendant said ‘I am an undercover police officer’.

Footage released by police showed the moment Couzens rented the car he would go on to use to prowl the streets of London for almost two hours before picking up Miss Everard

The CCTV clip showed Couzens calmly laughing with a female attendant. He joked ‘you’ve put me on the spot’ while trying to remember his phone number as she took his details

Couzens’ car is pictured arriving at New Street in Sandwich at 9.32am on March 4 before he threw away Miss Everard’s phone

On March 4 Couzens threw Miss Everard’s mobile phone into a channel at Sandwich, only for it to be retrieved by a diver as part of a search of the waterway. Pictured, Couzens’ car was parked at Guildhall Car Park for ten minutes

‘As he said that the defendant chuckled but then opened his jacket a little more to reveal his Police issue kit.’

On Wednesday, Ms Everard’s parents and sister Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick also attended court to hear how one of her own officers had abused his position to carry out his crimes, which shocked the nation.

In a statement before the sentencing started, the Met said: ‘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.’

A number of areas were searched in Clapham as police tried to look for missing Sarah before the hunt moved to Kent

‘I hate that I wasn’t there to save her’, says Sarah Everard’s sister Katie

Katie Everard, sister of Sarah Everard

Victim personal statement

Katie Everard,  sister of Sarah

‘You treated Sarah as if she was nothing. Placed more emphasis on satisfying your sick disgusting perversions than on a life. Her life. You disposed of my sister’s body like it was rubbish. Fly-tipped her like she meant nothing. She meant everything. We couldn’t even see her, she was so badly burnt. Her brain was removed from her skull to check for trauma and cause of death – I still don’t know if they put her brain back in her head or whether it is lying next to her body in her coffin.

‘Shards of her kneecap were returned to us to be placed with her body – shards that you knocked when moving her burnt body from the fridge you had used to hide her and conceal the fire. We are still missing her hyoid bone from her throat, which is being checked to see the force you used to strangle her, to determine how long she may have survived. We know it was broken. Her burnt body still had her necklace and one earring in her ear – the other had fallen from her ear because it had burnt off.

‘You hear from the police that it takes around 2 minutes to strangle someone. And around 8- 10 seconds for them to lose consciousness. At first there is a sense of relief at hearing that your sister might only have been aware of what was happening for 8-10 seconds. But have you put your hands around your neck and tried pushing hard? 8-10 seconds now seems a long time.

‘You used your warrant card to trick my sister into your car. She sat in a car handcuffed for hours. What could she have thought she had done wrong? What lies did you tell her? When did she realise that she wasn’t going to survive the night?

‘I’m constantly replaying in my head – did you rape her, then kill her? Did you kill her while raping her? You get small nuggets of information and the thought process starts again. Your semen and blood were found in your car. So this suggests you raped her in the car. You find out you may have used a belt to strangle her. New horrendous images forming.

‘You stopped to get a Lucozade and water at a petrol station. Was she still alive at this point? Bound in your car? I am horrified by your ability to flit between what you did and normal everyday actions. Your casual demeanour on CCTV was very upsetting and shocking to see.

‘We had to go to the flat and pack up Sarah’s whole life – washing left hanging up, half sewn outfits, deliveries waiting to be returned, packages waiting at the door ready to be opened. All signs of a life waiting to be lived – chores to be done, ready for her to return and continue when she got home. But she never got home because a predator – you – was on the loose. Prowling the streets for hours looking for his prey.

‘You can’t comprehend what you are being told when it happened because it is so horrific. Some sort of sick waking nightmare. You can’t imagine anyone could do such a thing.

‘You are waiting to hear anything from the police. Every bit you get is different. You hear her body has been found. Then you find out she has been burnt. So badly burnt you can’t see her. Can’t see her again to say goodbye. The first thought you have in your head after despair and shock is – was she dead before you burnt her? Imagine that even having to be a thought. You find out no soot was found in her lungs which suggests she was burnt after you murdered her. Imagine being relieved to hear your sister was dead before she was burnt.

‘I replay it continuously round in my head. What you may have said to her, what she may have said back, when she realised she was in grave danger and was not going to survive. Hoping my sister was unconscious and drugged, but we know that was not the case – no drugs found in her body, no trauma to the head. Burst blood vessels in her brain from your strangulation. Which meant she was conscious when you were doing these unfathomable things to her. My only hope is that she was in a state of shock and that she wasn’t aware of the disgusting things being done to her by a monster. When you forced yourself upon and raped her. When you put your hands around her neck and strangled her.

‘It disgusts me that you were the last person to touch her perfect body and violate her in the way you did. The last person to see her alive and speak to her. How scared she must have been. The last moments of her life not with loved ones, but frightened and fighting for her life. I hate to think of her being so scared and alone and that in her last moments she had no one with her. No kindness. I hate that I wasn’t there to save her. To stop you. I find it hard to believe she is not just living her own life and sick at the thought that her last moments on this earth alive were so horrific.

‘How dare you take her from me? Take away her hopes and dreams. Her life. Children that will never be born. Generations that will never exist. Her future no longer exists. The future I was supposed to live with my sister no longer exists. You have ruined so many lives.

‘Sarah is the very best person with so many people who love and cherish her. I want to speak to her and hug her and hear her laugh and go out for dinners and drinks and dancing. All those conversations we can never have. There were so many things I wanted to share with her – trips abroad, being each other’s bridesmaid, meeting her babies and being an

‘Aunty, growing old together and seeing who got the most wrinkles. We weren’t even halfway through our journey and you took it all away!

‘I feel like I live in a make-believe world. As if nothing is real. I have to pretend because the thought of not having Sarah forever is too hard to bear. A lifetime now seems a very long time.

‘I should never have to write a eulogy for or bury my little sister. There is no punishment that you could receive that will ever compare to the pain you have caused us. We can never get Sarah back. The last moments of Sarah’s life play on my mind constantly. I am so disgusted and appalled. It terrifies me that you have such disregard for a person’s life. You have taken from me the most precious person. And I can never get her back.’

Police scramble to defend themselves over Sarah Everard: Met says they could NOT have stopped Wayne Couzens from murdering the 33-year-old but point finger at Kent force for not properly investigating report of indecent exposure  

Metropolitan Police has said it could not have stopped Wayne Couzens from murdering Sarah Everard as it pointed a finger at Kent for not properly investigating a 2015 report of indecent exposure linked to the officer’s car.

The killer cop, 48, who was nicknamed The Rapist because of his inappropriate behaviour around women, had an obsession with ‘brutal porn’ and flashed McDonald’s workers before murdering Sarah Everard on March 3. 

But he still passed a vetting process that saw him put in charge of a gun as he stood guard at embassies in London for Met Police. 

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is also looking into Kent Police – where Couzens used to work as a volunteer – after it was accused of not investigating reports in 2015 that a man had been spotted driving down a road with no trousers on. 

Met Police today said ‘one of a range of checks’ when Couzens applied to join the force ‘may not have been undertaken correctly’.

Couzens’ car numberplate was linked to the 2015 indecent exposure but Met Police blamed the Kent force, claiming ‘Kent Police investigated this allegation and decided to take no further action. Our review found that the record of this allegation and outcome may not have been found during the vetting checks.’

It comes as a list of eight blunders that left Couzens free to kill were revealed.

Wayen Couzens (pictured), 48, was nicknamed The Rapist by colleagues and had an obsession with ‘brutal porn’ before committing the gruesome murder on March 3

Couzens has been linked to an incident three days before Miss Everard was kidnapped which saw two members of staff being flashed at a branch of McDonald’s in south London. 

The Met is being investigated by the IOPC for allegedly failing to probe these two separate incidents, despite apparently being provided with CCTV. Couzens was only identified as a suspect after Miss Everard’s murder. 

Questions have also been asked about how the Met Police’s vetting process failed to pick up concerns around Couzens before he was made an armed officer in its elite Diplomatic Protection Group, which involved him guarding embassies, VIPs and members of the Royal Family. 

Inappropriate Whatsapp messages and how Couzens got his head injuries: The ongoing investigations carried out by IOPC 

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has offered an update on investigations linked to Wayne Couzens’ gruesome murder. 

Sal Naseem said: ‘I would again wish to extend our deepest sympathies to Sarah Everard’s family and all those affected by her death.’

She said the watchdog could reveal other investigations – including into inappropriate graphics and discriminatory messages sent by police officers via Whatsapp:

An investigation into allegations that a probationary MPS police constable shared an inappropriate graphic, depicting violence against women, with colleagues via Whatsapp.

The graphic depicted the murder of Miss Everard by a serving police officer. Though the officer who sent the message was off-duty at the time he was later stationed at the crime scene cordon.

The force has not yet decided what action to take.

An investigation into the conduct of five officers from three forces and one former officer who allegedly sent discriminatory messages as part of a Whatsapp group between March and October 2019.

Three of the serving officers are with the MPS, one from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) and one from Norfolk Constabulary. Couzens was previously with the MPS.

They are being investigated for gross misconduct for allegedly sending messages of a discriminatory and/or inappropriate nature, and for allegedly failing to challenge the messages sent by the others.

Two of the MPS officers and the former MPS officer have also been notified that they are being criminally investigated for improper use of the public electronic communications network under Section 127 of the Communications Act.

An investigation into allegations that officers from several forces breached standards of professional behaviour when they used a messaging app to share information connected to the prosecution of Couzens.

One officer was investigated for gross misconduct because there was an indication they shared details presented in court from an interview given by Couzens under caution, when there was no policing purpose to do so. A further six officers were served with misconduct notices for not challenging the sharing of the information, and that two of them also joined in the conversation.

An investigation into the circumstances surrounding how Couzens sustained head injuries in custody on and March 10 and 12 after he had been arrested on suspicion of murder. 

A police spokesman said: ‘Our inquiries, concluded last month (August), established that the injuries were self-inflicted. We found that correct policies and procedures were followed and we did not identify any conduct or learning issues for the MPS.’    

A McDonald’s worker today claimed Couzens exposed himself to her three weeks before killing Miss Everard as she was working at a drive-thru on the A20 near Swanley in Kent at the start of February. 

Couzens was allegedly nicknamed ‘The Rapist’ by colleagues in the Civil Nuclear Constabulary – where he was involved in protecting nuclear power stations – because of his inappropriate behaviour around women. 

HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Tom Winsor said the nickname was known by some officers.

Sir Tom told the BBC Couzens ‘also had allegedly a reputation in terms of drug abuse, extreme pornography and other offences of this kind’. 

Couzens used to work at his father’s garage in Dover before joining the Kent Special Constabulary at some point after 2002. 

The court heard a colleague in that year spoke of ‘his attraction to brutal sexual pornography’ but Jim Sturman QC, defending, said it related to a single incident ‘which is almost impossible to examine now’. 

The court heard he used prostitutes and had a fake Match.com dating profile despite being married with two children and in 2018, it has been claimed he was reported to bosses for slapping a female police officer’s bottom at Bromley police station. It appears no action was taken, a source claimed.

While at Bromley, it is also alleged he became the subject of gossip for only stopping female motorists – before taking their details so he could watch their homes – and parking outside schools to leer at mothers and sixth formers. 

The Met said: ‘Couzens was a serving and vetted police officer when he joined the Met. He had no criminal convictions or cautions and he was not subject to any misconduct proceedings during his time at the MPS. We are aware of no other concerns raised by his colleagues or anyone regarding his behaviour.’ 

The force admitted mistakes were made during Couzens’ vetting process.

A spokesman added: ‘Following his arrest, as the public would expect, we reviewed his vetting. This review confirmed he passed vetting processes. However, it also found one of a range of checks may not have been undertaken correctly. 

‘This check related to information regarding a vehicle which was registered to Couzens and that was linked to an allegation of indecent exposure in Kent in 2015. 

‘Kent Police investigated this allegation and decided to take no further action. Our review found that the record of this allegation and outcome may not have been found during the vetting checks. 

‘However, the review we conducted found that despite this there was no information available to the Met at the time that would have changed the vetting decision. We continue to build up a picture of Couzens’ career and wider activities. 

‘We would like to appeal for anyone who has information of concern about Couzens – whether police colleagues or members of the public – to contact us directly.’

A McDonald’s worker told MailOnline she saw Couzens pulling up by the order hatch with his trousers down. Met Police has not commented on this claim and the worker did not suggest the Met knew Couzens had done this and allowed him to carry on working.

The staff member – who said she recognised Couzens from the news coverage after he was identified as Miss Everard’s killer, told MailOnline: ‘The whole has thing left me quite disturbed. He casually pulled up to the serving hatch having ordered his food and I could clearly see that he was naked from below the waist.

‘It was not the first time that he had done this when he came to McDonald’s, but I was the only female member of staff to report it. I’m glad I took a stand and alerted the authorities because it was the right thing do. But I never imagined that he would go on to murder a woman, it’s tragic.’ 

The devout Christian said she reported the alleged incident to police. MailOnline has contacted the Met for comment. 

The Met is already being investigated by the police watchdog for its alleged failure to investigate two flashings later attributed to Couzens at a McDonald’s in south London three days before he kidnapped, raped and murdered Miss Everard. 

Couzens has been linked to an incident three days before Miss Everard was kidnapped which saw two members of staff being flashed at a branch of McDonald’s in south London (file image)

Couzens used his police ID to carry out a fake Covid arrest, cuffed the 33-year-old in his car and then strangled her using his police belt. 

He appeared to shake in the dock as he was handed a full life term at the Old Bailey this morning – as activists with ‘Met Police: Blood on their hands’ banners protested outside. Lord Justice Fulford said he was a ‘warped’ and ‘self-pitying’ killer who used his position and knowledge of Covid-19 lockdown laws to carry out one of the most shocking crimes in recent history. 

The McDonald’s worker allegedly targeted by Couzens in February said of the incident: ‘I believe that the police took action when I reported the matter at the time but I suppose the question is if it was appropriate enough?’ she asked.

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Lord Justice Fulford sentencing Couzens at the Old Bailey in London

‘A process was underway, they were looking into it but perhaps they could have done more. I never thought it would escalate in the way that it did, and I don’t think the police did either.

‘I have not spoken about the incident at great length because I don’t want to take anything away from Sarah’s killing. At the end of the day the focus should be on her and her family and other women who have been killed by men.

‘I’m a devout Christian and people in my church have supported me. The whole thing was very disturbing. I no longer work at McDonald’s, I’m in a new job and have put the whole thing behind me. It is a closed chapter in my life and I’ve moved on.’

‘Take off your mask and look at me: Sarah’s father Jeremy says the murder is ‘in my mind all the time’

Jeremy Everard, father of Sarah Everard

Sarah Everard, 14th June 1987 to March 2021 

Sarah’s father Jeremy Everard

‘The impact of what you have done will never end. The horrendous murder of my daughter, Sarah, is in my mind all the time and will be for the rest of my life.

‘A father wants to look after his children and fix everything and you have deliberately and with pre- meditation stopped my ability to do that.

‘Sarah was handcuffed and unable to defend herself. This preys on my mind all the time. I can never forgive you for what you have done, for taking Sarah away from us.

‘You burnt our daughter’s body – you further tortured us – so that we could not see her again. We did not know whether you had burnt her alive or dead. You stopped us seeing Sarah for one last time and stopped me from giving my daughter one last kiss goodbye.

‘Her body fell apart when she was moved. Her brain and neck bones were removed for months by the pathologist and her body was difficult to preserve so we had to use the services of a specialist embalmer to enable a dignified burial.

‘All my family want is Sarah back with us. No punishment that you receive will ever compare to the pain and torture that you have inflicted on us.

‘You murdered our daughter and forever broke the hearts of her mother, father, brother, sister, family and her friends.

‘Sarah had so much to look forward to and because of YOU this is now gone forever. She was saving to buy a house and looking forward to marriage and children. We were looking forward to having grandchildren. We loved being a part of Sarah’s world and expected her to have a full and happy life. The closest we can get to her now is to visit her grave every day.’ 

Shopping in Tesco and B&Q for his kidnap, rape and kill kit: Footage shows Wayne Couzens buy rubble bags, hairbands and a jerry can he used in sickening murder of Sarah Everard

Chilling footage shows Wayne Couzens shopping for rubble bags, hairbands and a jerry can full of petrol he would use in the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard. 

Wayne Couzens, 48, used his Metropolitan Police-issue warrant card and handcuffs to snatch Ms Everard as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham, south London, on the evening of March 3.  

The firearms officer, who had clocked off from a 12-hour shift at the American embassy that morning, drove to a secluded rural area near Dover in Kent, where he raped Ms Everard. 

In disturbing footage, released by the Met Police today, Couzens is seen on March 3, the night of Ms Everard’s disappearance, at a Tesco Superstore in Kensington, west London, at 8pm. 

He buys a pack of 14 hair bands, which were said to be a ‘significant’ purchase and part of his plans. 

Couzens had strangled marketing executive Ms Everard, who lived in Brixton, south London, with his police belt at or before 2.30am the following morning.

On March 5, at 11.05am, Couzens is seen buying a petrol canister and filling it up at a BP forecourt in Whitfield, Dover. 

Three hours later, CCTV shows him wearing a pale blue face mask while shopping at a B&Q hardware shop in Dover, where he buys two green rubble bags for £9.94.


Pictured: A canister used by Wayne Couzens in the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard

Pictured: Part of the equipment used by Couzens in the killing of Miss Everard

Pictured: Couzens’ equipment recovered from his police locker


Among exhibits the police used to catch Couzens was a roll of plastic floor protector tape

Pictured: Handcuffs recovered from Couzens’ work locker following the murder of Miss Everard

Couzens bought a pack of 14 hair bands, which were said to be a ‘significant’ purchase and part of his plans

A key recovered from the car used by Couzens, who killed Miss Everard

Ms Everard’s mother Susan said at the Old Bailey that Couzens ‘treated my daughter as if she was nothing and disposed of her as if she was rubbish’.

She added: ‘When Sarah’s burnt remains were found, we spent two terrible days waiting for tests to show how she had died, fearing she had been set alight before she was dead – the thought was appalling.

‘Burning her body was the final insult, it meant we could never again see her sweet face and never say goodbye.’

On March 6 Couzens ordered a tarpaulin and a bungee cargo net on Amazon, which were shipped to him on March 7.

He then calls in sick on March 8, when he was due to return to work.

On March 9 his phone is wiped of all data at 7.11pm, less than an hour before he is arrested at his home in Deal, Kent, at 7.50pm. 

The next day, Ms Everard’s body was discovered in a wooded area of Ashford, Kent, around 100 metres from land owned by Couzens.

Pictured: Equipment recovered from Couzens’ work locker following Miss Everard’s death

Lubricating jelly recovered from the car used by Couzens, who killed Miss Everard

Three hours later, CCTV shows him wearing a pale blue face mask while shopping at a B&Q hardware shop in Dover, where he buys two green rubble bags for £9.94

On March 5, at 11.05am, Couzens is seen buying a petrol canister and filling it up at a BP forecourt in Whitfield, Dover


Couzens (left, in his uniform with his police belt circled; and right, in a court sketch) kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard in depraved crimes after he had finished his shift

In disturbing footage, released by the Met Police today, Couzens is seen on March 3, the night of Ms Everard’s disappearance, at a Tesco Superstore in Kensington, west London, at 8pm

She was later formally identified by dental records.  

On Wednesday, Ms Everard’s parents and sister condemned her killer as he sat quaking in the dock with his head bowed at the start of his sentencing at the Old Bailey.

Her father Jeremy Everard demanded the killer look at him as he said: ‘I can never forgive you for what you have done, for taking Sarah away from us.’

Susan Everard said she was ‘incandescent with rage’ at what he had done, saying he disposed of her daughter ‘as if she was rubbish’.

She added: ‘I am outraged that he masqueraded as a policeman in order to get what he wanted.’

Sister Katie Everard wept as she said: ‘My only hope is that she was in a state of shock and that she wasn’t aware of the disgusting things being done to her by a monster. When you forced yourself upon her and raped her.’

Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick also attended court to hear how one of her own officers had abused his position and used his warrant card to kidnap Ms Everard ‘by fraud’ before detaining her ‘by force’.

Prosecutor Tom Little QC suggested the case was so exceptional and unprecedented that it could warrant a whole life order, meaning Couzens would die in jail.

Opening the facts of the case, he said Miss Everard’s disappearance was one of the most widely publicised missing person investigations the country has ever seen.

After her body was discovered a week later, it became summarised on social media by the hashtag ‘she was just walking home’, which did not completely describe what had happened, he said.

‘Whilst it is impossible to summarise what the defendant did to Sarah Everard in just five words, if it had to be done then it would be more appropriate to do so as deception, kidnap, rape, strangulation, fire,’ said Mr Little.

The court heard Ms Everard was described by a former long-term boyfriend as ‘extremely intelligent, savvy and streetwise’ and ‘not a gullible person’.

He said he could not envisage her getting into a car with someone she did not know ‘unless by force or manipulation’, said the prosecutor.

Couzens had worked on uniformed Covid patrols in late January to enforce coronavirus regulations, so would have known what language to use to those who may have breached them, he continued.

He is thought to have been wearing his police belt with handcuffs and a rectangular black pouch, similar to a pepper spray holder, when he kidnapped Ms Everard as she walked home.

‘The fact she had been to a friend’s house for dinner at the height of the early 2021 lockdown made her more vulnerable to and more likely to submit to an accusation that she had acted in breach of the Covid regulations in some way,’ said Mr Little.

The court heard how Couzens had booked a hire car before going out ‘hunting’ for a lone young female to kidnap and rape.

Chilling CCTV footage played in court showed Couzens raising his left arm, holding a warrant card, before handcuffing Miss Everard and putting her into the back of the car.

A passing couple witnessed the kidnapping but mistook it for an arrest by an undercover officer, the court heard.

Mr Little said: ‘She was detained by fraud. The defendant using his warrant card and handcuffs as well as his other police issue equipment to effect a false arrest.’

Couzens worked for the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command after joining the Met in 2018, having transferred from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary.

He was sacked by the force after entering guilty pleas.

Scotland Yard said in a statement ahead of the sentencing hearing: ‘We are sickened, angered and devastated by this man’s crimes which betray everything we stand for.’ 

Killer cop’s ‘wife silently watched him face justice’: Wayne Couzens’ spouse is believed to have logged in to court feed remotely to hear sentencing – as her sister says family’s ‘heads are still spinning’ from trying to comprehend crime

The wife of killer cop Wayne Couzens silently watched him be jailed for the rest of his life remotely on a court camera feed.

Olena Couzens logged in to view the two-day hearing at the Old Bailey from an unknown location.

The mother-of-two was believed to be among others unable to get to court but wanted to follow the sentencing.

Her husband was sentenced to a whole life order for kidnapping, raping and murdering Sarah Everard and will never be freed.

Couzens stood with his head bowed throughout the sentencing hearing and did not look up as he was ordered by the judge to stand.

He shook slightly as he was jailed in front of his victim’s family, who calmly looked on from the well of the court.

Olena Couzens logged onto a remote court feed to follow her husband’s two day sentencing in real time on Wednesday


Criminal and policeman: Couzens seen left when he was caught and right as he served as a police officer in Kent

Sarah Everard’s parents Jeremy and Susan clasped hands and hugged police officers after Couzens shuffled out of the dock to be taken down to the cells.

Olena’s sister-in-law says the family still don’t understand why he murdered her and their ‘heads are spinning’ from trying to come to terms with it.

Tetyana Obukhova, 39, who is the older sister of Olena, told MailOnline: ‘I don’t know why he’d done what he’s done, my head has been spinning for days, weeks while I was trying to understand it.

‘I don’t know the reasons that made him do it, and I’m not going to speculate. He must serve quite a severe punishment for what he’s done.’

Ms Obukhova said her sister, Couzens’ shattered wife of 15 years, was still living in the UK and she didn’t know if she was planning to move with the couple’s children back to Ukraine.

While on duty on February 28, he booked a £65.30 hire car from Enterprise Rent-a-Car in Dover, which he collected on March 3 (pictured), having decided his own was too old and filthy to be passed off as a police vehicle

Just four minutes after Sarah was seen walking down Cavendish Road towards her home, Couzens’ hire car, was spotted travelling east, and passing the same camera

Buying a hot chocolate and Bakewell tart at a Costa Coffee – wearing the very same clothes as he had the night before. Just over an hour later, he would dispose of Miss Everard’s phone in a flood relief channel in Sandwich – but a fragment was later found in his car

Speaking from her home in Kirovograd, 185 miles south of Kiev, Ms Obukhova insisted that the biggest shock was that on the face of it, Couzens was a ‘decent’ husband and father.

She added: ‘I myself don’t know what to think about it. I just don’t know… perhaps he was in a kind of a state. The man I know, the man I spoke to, he is a decent, good man. He is a lovely husband, my sister never had a bad word to say about him, she never once said he was aggressive, or anything like that.’

Recalling Sarah’s killing and Couzens subsequent arrest, Ms Obhukova said: ‘She (Olena) learned about Sarah on the day when police came to their house. She didn’t have a clue why the police were on their doorstep. She was so shocked when he was arrested.

‘I don’t think she could ever imagine that he was able to do such things… to kidnap a woman.’

In July, Olena told MailOnline about her horror at what Couzens had done and that she kept on asking herself ‘why?’ because it was ‘not human behaviour.’

She added: ”If I had any idea what was going on in Wayne’s head, then none of this would’ve happened but I didn’t know anything.

‘He didn’t appear to be acting strangely. I didn’t notice anything was wrong. I’m working full time, most of the time I’m dropping the children off at school and picking them up, I have a really busy lifestyle.

‘I can’t comprehend it because he never once previously showed any glimpse of violence, he was never that way. I’m just as puzzled as everyone else.

‘I saw nothing wrong. He had a beautiful family, a good house… what else did he need? I’m constantly asking myself ‘where I did miss the signs?’ How on earth could this have happened?’

Ms Obukhova revealed that Olena is likely to remain in England to raise her two children.

She added: ‘She is still in the UK, I don’t know if she is planning to go to Ukraine. She’s got to decide what’s the best for her.

‘It’s hard to guess what she will decide for herself, she’s got a job, children are at school there.’

Police watchdog boss admits she wouldn’t approach a lone policeman at night as ex-Met Chief Superintendent says women PCs don’t raise concerns about male colleagues’ behaviour ‘because they might not come to their aid when they need help’

A police watchdog inspector has admitted she would have ‘concerns and reservations’ about approaching a lone male police officer at night with a problem, following the sentencing of Sarah Everard’s killer Wayne Couzens.

Zoe Billingham, a senior inspector with Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, also said that she could not say ‘with certainty’ that the murder of a woman by a police officer in Britain would not happen again.

Her comments came as former Scotland Yard chief inspector Parm Sandhu warned how that in her experience, male officers close rank against female colleagues who raise concerns about their behaviour at work.

Ms Sandhu, who now mentors young women becoming officers, also told of her concern over how many women would feel confident in getting into a police officer’s car, and described Couzens as ‘a monster in uniform’.

Couzens’s old boss Dame Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, is facing calls to resign in the wake of the murder amid demands for urgent action to restore the confidence of women in the police.

The Met instantly moved to distanced itself from Couzens yesterday before his sentencing had begun, referring to him as a ‘former Metropolitan Police officer’ in a statement despite him using his job and police belt to kill her.

Also yesterday, former DCI Simon Harding, who was a senior investigator on Miss Everard’s case, said that ‘police officers do not view Wayne Couzens as a police officer’ and that he ‘should never have been near a uniform’. 

Couzens was accused of indecent exposure in a branch of fast food restaurant McDonald’s in Swanley, Kent, three days before Miss Everard died, but was not arrested or taken off duty while the matter was investigated. 

The 48-year-old had been accused of the same crime in Dover in 2015, while working as an officer for the Civil Nuclear Constabulary. A motorist allegedly saw him driving naked from the waist down, but no arrests were made.

He also allegedly made female colleagues feel uncomfortable and was nicknamed ‘the rapist’. Police watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct is investigating whether the allegations were properly dealt with.

Couzens, 48, who was sentenced at the Old Bailey today, strangled 33-year-old Miss Everard with his police belt after kidnapping her in South London under the guise of a fake arrest for breaking lockdown rules. 

Zoe Billingham, a senior inspector with Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, said that she could not say ‘with certainty’ that the murder of a woman by a police officer in Britain would not happen again

Scotland Yard chief inspector Parm Sandhu (pictured on Sky News) warned how in her experience, male officers close rank against female colleagues who raise concerns about their behaviour at work.

Ms Billingham told BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour today that Couzens’s actions had struck a ‘hammer blow to the heart of policing legitimacy’ and that she had the same ‘deep, deep anger’ that many people felt over the killing.

She added: ‘I think this is a watershed moment for policing. I think we cannot abide by the narrative that this was a one-off, that he was a bad’un, and I think every force now in the country must look to re-establish trust and legitimacy.

‘Because what Wayne Couzens did to Sarah Everard has struck a hammer blow to the heart of policing legitimacy in England and Wales.

‘It needs to be treated as thus, and I would call on ever force in the country to now account immediately, not tomorrow, today to account immediately to its communities a to exactly what it is going to do to ensure that this can never happen again.’

Asked by presenter Emma Barnett how safe she would feel going to a male police officer at night with a problem, Ms Billingham said: ‘At this moment in time, like any other woman, I have concerns and reservations, and that’s why I say today we cannot dismiss Wayne Couzens as a one-off as a rarity, as an aberration.

‘We must see every police force in England and Wales now stepping forward to tell its communities precisely what it’s doing to ensure that women are safe. We have yet to see and say with certainty that this may not happen again.’

Ms Billingham’s comments came two weeks after she published a report claiming that police chiefs should treat violence against women as seriously as terrorism and stop ditching an ‘eye-watering’ number of crimes.

Meanwhile Ms Sandhu, who lives in Sevenoaks, Kent, told Sky News: ‘Throughout my service there have been incidents of sexism. I was lucky in that I’ve always managed to stand up for myself at a cost, and there have been hurdles.

‘I still mentor young women who are joining the police service now. And you do have to be strong, you do have to be able to cope with these things and you do have to call it out.

‘But unfortunately the majority of people who in the police service are men, so it’s put down to banter and it’s put down to ‘oh, you can’t take a joke’.

‘So you have to be careful about which battles you fight, and I think that’s why this monster got away with some of the comments and some of the actions that he did at this workplace, which is why they called him ‘the rapist’ at work.

A court artist’s sketch of Lord Justice Fulford sentencing police officer Wayne Couzens at the Old Bailey in London today

‘But no one was strong enough to actually take it any further, or strong enough to actually make him leave the organisation.’

She continued: ‘My biggest concern now is how many women will feel confident in getting into a police officer’s car. The police service must be able to protect and serve our communities. We are supposed to be part of the community… So in my view, something has to be done to rebuild that trust and confidence.

Ms Sandhu also said: ‘This man is a monster in uniform who had got through vetting procedures, so we need to look at how are we vetting people’. 

Whole life order: Wayne Couzens joins 60 of Britain’s most dangerous criminals including Rose West and Levi Bellfield spending their ENTIRE lives behind bars – so will he spend the rest of his days on a notorious BEAST Wing?

Whole life orders are the most severe punishment available in the UK criminal justice system for those who commit the most serious crimes.

Today, Wayne Couzens, 48, was jailed for the rest of his life with no chance of parole after he ‘misused’ his ‘office and authority’ as a Met officer to kidnap, rape and murder Sarah Everard.

He joins a string of some of the country’s most dangerous offenders who are expected to die behind bars.

There are 60 criminals still alive who are serving whole life orders, according to government figures to the end of June. In total, 73 criminals have been sentenced to whole life terms.

Couzens may see out his sentence in a Vulnerable Prisoner Unit (VPU) for his own protection, as he is likely to be considered a possible target for other inmates given the brutality of his crimes of kidnap, rape and murder.

Today, Wayne Couzens was jailed for the rest of his life with no chance of parole

But even the safety precautions in VPUs have been breached in the past. 

In 2019, paedophile Richard Huckle, 33, was found stabbed to death in his VPU cell at HMP Full Sutton. Huckle had been serving 22 life sentences for molesting up to 200 children.

Prisoners serving life sentences will never be considered for release, unless there are exceptional compassionate grounds to warrant it. 

Milly Dowler’s killer Levi Bellfield is thought to be the only criminal in UK legal history to be serving two whole life orders – for her murder, the killings of Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delagrange as well as the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy.

Other notorious criminals serving whole life orders include Gloucester serial killer Rose West, who is responsible for the deaths of ten women – many of them tortured and murdered with her husband Fred West, now dead, as an accomplice. 

While serving at Long Newton Prison in Durham, Rose West was known to have formed a friendship with Moors murderer Myra Hindley. 

The twisted pair’s relationship was featured in an ITV documentary, ‘Rose West & Myra Hindley: Their Untold Story’ which aired in September last year.

Viewers of the documentary later applauded prisoner Julie McAllister, who told film-makers how she had punched West in the face, knocking her to the ground. 

Miss McAllister, herself a mother, said: ‘She was standing in the queue, talking to the prisoners about how she’d cook them cakes. 

‘I tapped her on the shoulder and I punched her straight in the face. Caught her in the eye, because you could hear the thud when she hit the floor.’

On Twitter, @andygibsonTV posted: ‘I think your criminal record should be wiped clean for doing that fantastic public service.’

Rose West was later transferred to HMP New Hall in West Yorkshire in 2019, as rumours circulated about ill health and death threats.  

Michael Adebolajo, one of Fusilier Lee Rigby’s killers, is also serving a life term without parole.

Other notorious lifers are Mark Bridger, 55, who abducted and murdered five-year-old April Jones in Powys, Wales, in 2012; neo-Nazi Thomas Mair who killed MP Jo Cox; Grindr serial killer Stephen Port; and most recently terror attacker Khairi Saadallah – who murdered three men in a park in Reading. 

Levi Bellfield who was found guilty of murdering schoolgirl Milly Dowler in 2003

Gloucester serial killer Rose West, who was jailed for life over the murders ten victims between 1973 and 1987

Rose and her late husband Fred West are believed to have tortured and murdered at least a dozen women in their home in Gloucester, including their daughter Heather

Before they died, Moors murderer Ian Brady and his girlfriend Myra Hindley, Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, and doctor Harold Shipman – thought to be one of Britain’s most prolific serial killers – were also among those serving whole life orders.

In the past, home secretaries could issue whole life tariffs and these are now determined by judges.

Under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, the Government is trying to expand the use of whole life orders for premeditated murder of a child. 

Lee Rigby’s killer Michael Adebelajo later lost two teeth while being restrained by five officers at Belmarsh Prison

Mark Bridger, 55, who abducted and murdered five-year-old April Jones in Powys, Wales, in 2012


Before they died, Moors murderer Ian Brady and his girlfriend Myra Hindley were among the criminals serving life behind bars

Thomas Mair, 58, who shot and stabbed Labour MP Jo Cox outside of her constituency surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire, in 2016

The reforms would also allow judges to hand out the maximum sentence to 18 to 20-year-olds in exceptional cases, such as for acts of terrorism leading to mass loss of life. 

It will also give judges the discretion, in exceptional circumstances, to impose a whole life order on offenders aged 18 or over but under 21.

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