Angry protesters gather outside Old Bailey as killer cop Wayne Couzens is sentenced for Sarah Everard’s murder – as Cressida Dick faces fury over why he was working despite being accused of indecent exposure

  • Feminist campaigners from Sisters Uncut gathered outside Old Bailey to protest against Metropolitan Police
  • Hold placards and light flares as officer Wayne Couzens is sentenced for kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard
  • Their signs say ‘no justice no peace’, ‘Met Police – blood on your hands’ and ‘justice means no dead women’
  • Killer was accused of indecent exposure in days before murder but allegations were not taken more seriously
  • Couzens was accused of same crime in Kent in 2015 and was allegedly nicknamed ‘the rapist’ by colleagues

Feminist campaigners gathered outside the Old Bailey today to protest against the Metropolitan Police as officer Wayne Couzens was sentenced for kidnapping and murdering Sarah Everard.

Demonstrators held signs saying ‘no justice no peace’; ‘abolish the police’; ‘Met Police – blood on your hands’; ‘we will not be silenced – no more police powers’; ‘justice means no dead women’; and ‘Kill the bill or the bill will kill’.

The protest was organised by the Sisters Uncut group, with most of the activists wearing face coverings as some lit flares while others held megaphones. Another sign read: ‘No killers, no cops, sisters run the block’.

It comes as Commissioner Cressida Dick faced fury over why allegations against Couzens that he had committed indecent exposure in the days before the killing in South London in March were not taken more seriously.

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.

Scotland Yard said today it was ‘sickened, angered and devastated’ at the murder by Couzens, who was an armed officer with the Metropolitan Police, tasked with guarding sites as part of the Diplomatic Protection Command.

Demonstrators hold placards as they await the sentencing of Wayne Couzens outside the Old Bailey in London this morning

Protesters hold banners outside the Old Bailey today for the sentencing of Sarah Everard’s killer, policeman Wayne Couzens

Members of Sisters Uncut take part in a protest against the Metropolitan Police outside the Old Bailey this morning

Demonstrators hold banners and flares today as they await the sentencing of police officer Wayne Couzens for murder

Feminist group Sisters Uncut protest outside the Old Bailey today as the sentencing hearing for Wayne Couzens continues

Sisters Uncut protest outside the Old Bailey today as the sentencing hearing for Sarah Everard’s killer continues in court

Sisters Uncut were involved in the Clapham Common vigil on March 13 when hundreds of activists gathered and refused to leave when asked by police, leading to clashes that saw protesters bundled to the ground and arrested.

The Met faced a barrage of criticism, including calls for Commissioner Cressida Dick to resign, but a report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services backed the force’s handling of the event.

Killer officer was accused of indecent exposure three days before he murdered Sarah 

The public reacted with horror when the Metropolitan Police announced that one of their own had been arrested over the death of Sarah Everard.

Wayne Couzens, who is married with children, was a highly trusted member of the force’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command.

The armed unit is responsible for guarding the Parliamentary estate, including Downing Street and the Palace of Westminster, as well as embassies in London.

The 48-year-old officer had been accused of indecent exposure in a branch of fast food restaurant McDonald’s three days before Miss Everard died, but was not arrested or taken off duty while the matter was investigated.

A number of separate troubling incidents involving police officers have attracted public attention in recent months.

In June, West Mercia PC Benjamin Monk was convicted of the manslaughter of former footballer Dalian Atkinson, having kicked the 48-year-old in the head twice after what the judge called an ‘excessive’ 33-second use of a Taser.

In April, former probationary Metropolitan Police officer Ben Hannam, 22, was found guilty of membership of banned right-wing extremist group National Action (NA) and jailed for four years.

He had been with the London force for nearly two years before he was found on a leaked database of users of extreme right-wing forum Iron March and arrested last year.

Hannam, who pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited image of a child, was also convicted of lying on his application and vetting forms to join the police and having two terror documents detailing knife combat and making explosive devices.

In March, ex-Pc Oliver Banfield, who served with West Midlands Police, was given a curfew and ordered to pay compensation and costs after admitting assault by beating.

Today, the Old Bailey heard that Couzens kidnapped and murdered Miss Everard after accusing her of breaking the Covid-19 lockdown in a ‘false arrest.

He used his handcuffs and warrant card to snatch Miss Everard as she walked home from visiting a friend on the evening of March 3.

The sexual predator, who had clocked off from a 12-hour shift that morning, went on to rape and strangle the 33-year-old marketing executive then set fire to her body.

A week after she disappeared, Miss Everard’s remains were found in a woodland stream in Ashford, Kent, just metres from land owned by Couzens.

He has pleaded guilty to Miss Everard’s murder, kidnap and rape and appeared at the Old Bailey today for the start of his sentencing.

He sat in the dock with his head bowed as prosecutor Tom Little QC opened the case, watched by Miss Everard’s family.

Mr Little said the disappearance of Miss Everard was one of the most widely publicised missing person investigations the country has ever seen.

After her body was discovered in woodland, it became summarised by the hashtag ‘she was just walking home’, he said.

But that did not completely describe what happened to Miss Everard, the court heard.

Mr Little 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.’

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

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.

Mr Little added: ‘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.’

Couzens worked on Covid patrols in late January this year, enforcing coronavirus regulations, so would have known what language to use to those who may have breached them.

He was said to be wearing his police belt with handcuffs and a rectangular black pouch, similar to a pepper spray holder, when he kidnapped Miss Everard.

The court heard how the officer planned in advance by booking a hire car for between 5pm on March 3 to 9.30am the next day.

Mr Little said there was ‘no credible alternative explanation for his need to hire a car other than to use that car to kidnap and rape a lone woman’.

‘His movements were consistent with the defendant looking for, or hunting, for a lone young female to kidnap and rape, which is precisely what he did,’ the prosecutor said. 


Wayne Couzens (left) was a serving police officer with the Metropolitan Police when he kidnapped Sarah Everard (right)

A court artist’s impression of Wayne Couzens with his head bowed during the sentencing hearing at the Old Bailey today

A protester involved in the Sisters Uncut demonstration this morning holds a sign saying ‘justice means no dead women’

Feminist group Sisters Uncut sit on the floor next to signs saying ‘abolish the police’ outside the Old Bailey this morning

Protesters stand outside the Old Bailey this morning while the sentencing hearing for Sarah Everard’s killer takes place

Feminist group Sisters Uncut protest outside the Old Bailey today as the sentencing hearing for Wayne Couzens continues

CCTV footage showed Couzens raising his left arm holding a warrant card before handcuffing Miss Everard and putting her into the hire car.

A passenger in a passing car witnessed the kidnapping but mistook it for an arrest by an undercover officer, the court heard.

A woman on the pavement appeared to have her left arm behind her back and was in the process of ‘giving her other arm behind her back’ as a man in dark clothing handcuffed her, according to the witness.

Mr Little said: ‘The immediate impression the passenger formed was that she was witnessing an undercover police officer arresting a woman, whom she assumed ‘must have done something wrong’.

The feminist campaigners gather outside the Old Bailey this morning to protest against the Metropolitan Police

One of the banners displayed during the demonstration today reads: ‘We will not be silenced – no more police powers’

Demonstrators hold banners today as they await the sentencing of police officer Wayne Couzens for Sarah Everard’s murder 

Demonstrators protest today, six months after the disappearance and murder of Sarah Everard sparked national outrage 

Feminist group Sisters Uncut protest outside the court this morning as the sentencing hearing for Wayne Couzens takes place

Demonstrators hold banners today as they await the sentencing of Wayne Couzens for the murder of Sarah Everard

‘They were in fact witnessing the kidnapping of Sarah Everard. She was detained by fraud. The defendant using his warrant card and handcuffs as well as his other police issue equipment to affect a false arrest.’

Ahead of the start of the two-day sentencing, Scotland Yard released a statement which read: ‘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.’

Lord Justice Fulford will consider whether to hand down a whole life term before he sentences Couzens tomorrow. 

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