The previous Metropolitan police officer Wayne Couzens shall be sentenced as we speak for the kidnap, rape and homicide of Sarah Everard, whom he lured off the road by abusing his powers and place as a police officer.
Couzens, 48, used his police warrant card and handcuffs to lure Everard off the road earlier than strangling her along with his police belt and burning her physique, depriving her household of the prospect to say a closing goodbye, a courtroom has heard.
Video footage launched on Wednesday confirmed Couzens, then a serving Metropolitan police officer, staging a false arrest of Everard as she returned from a pal’s home in south London in March throughout a interval of coronavirus lockdown measures.
Lord Justice Fulford will determine on the minimal size of Couzens’ life sentence on Thursday on the Outdated Bailey in central London.
The complete particulars of Couzens’ crimes have been detailed for the primary time at a listening to on Wednesday to determine whether or not he must be sentenced to die in jail. The prosecution stated the crimes have been so critical, involving the abuse of his place and belief as a police officer, they could advantage him being sentenced to a whole-life tariff.
The offence of homicide, which Couzens has already admitted, carries a compulsory life sentence.
The defence will in a while Thursday morning argue in opposition to Couzens receiving an entire life tariff for the ordeal he inflicted on Everard, a sentence reserved for the very worst offenders.
He handcuffed her within the again seat of his automotive and “that was the beginning of her prolonged ordeal, together with an 80-mile journey [to Kent] while detained which was to guide first to her rape after which her homicide”, Tom Little QC informed the Outdated Bailey.
“Sooner or later pretty quickly after driving from the pavement on to the South Round and having not gone to a police station, Sarah Everard should have realised her destiny.”
Everard’s mom, Susan, informed the courtroom she remained “tormented” on the considered what her 33-year-old daughter endured.
The complete particulars of Couzens’ crimes have been laid naked for the primary time at a listening to to determine whether or not he must be sentenced to die in jail. The prosecution stated the crimes have been so critical, involving the abuse of his place and belief as a police officer, they could advantage him being sentenced to a whole-life tariff.
Couzens stored his head bowed in courtroom. Everard’s father, Jeremy, and different daughter, Katie, every requested that Couzens face them earlier than they started addressing him immediately. He lifted his head barely however didn’t take a look at them.
Everard’s homicide rocked Britain and led to an outcry over girls’s security on the streets. Police concern the complete particulars of the crime will set off rising revulsion and anger.
Couzens, 48, employed a automotive and acquired adhesive tape earlier than “looking for a lone younger feminine to kidnap and rape” as a part of a premeditated mission on the night time Everard was kidnapped, the prosecution informed the courtroom on the primary day of a two-day sentencing listening to.
Little stated Everard, a advertising govt, was seized on 3 March earlier than being pushed to Kent, the place Couzens killed her and left her physique within the countryside.
Police launched photographs of Couzens wringing his arms as he purchased a drink and a bakewell tart the next day. Days later he returned to the scene, the place he had arrange a makeshift pyre to burn his sufferer’s physique, for a day journey along with his spouse and two kids.
Couzens, who had labored an evening shift as an armed Met police officer guarding the US embassy in London hours earlier than the kidnapping, bought Everard into the rent automotive “by handcuffing her, in addition to displaying her his warrant card”, Little stated.
Couzens could have used the pretext that Everard had damaged Covid lockdown laws to cease her, the courtroom heard. He had undertaken police Covid patrols and knew what language to make use of to those that could have breached the principles.
Couzens was off obligation on the time however wore his police belt. He encountered Everard at about 9.30pm as she made what ought to have been a 50-minute stroll residence.
A girl who witnessed the beginning of Couzens’ kidnapping of Everard noticed him handcuff her on the pavement. Little stated the passerby thought she was witnessing an undercover police officer arresting a lady, whom she assumed “should have accomplished one thing fallacious”.
The witness then noticed Couzens strolling Everard, her arms cuffed behind her again, in direction of his automotive. Little stated Everard could have been extra susceptible to an accusation of breaching Covid guidelines as a result of she had been to a pal’s place for dinner in the course of the lockdown.
Little stated: “She was detained by fraud. The defendant utilizing his warrant card and handcuffs in addition to his different police challenge tools to impact a false arrest.” He informed the courtroom Everard was the sufferer of “deception, kidnap, rape, strangulation, hearth”.
In Kent the Met officer switched vehicles and raped his sufferer, the courtroom heard. He used his police challenge belt to strangle Everard. “The defendant knowledgeable the psychiatrist that he strangled Sarah Everard utilizing his belt. Given all of the circumstances this might be constant along with his police belt,” Little informed the courtroom.
Couzens was caught on CCTV crisscrossing Kent after the homicide, as he began hiding his crimes. He crammed a can with petrol and set about burning Everard’s physique in a discipline and “moved her physique in inexperienced luggage bought particularly for that process”, Little stated.
Couzens appeared in particular person on the Outdated Bailey in central London carrying a darkish blue swimsuit and masks. He sat, head bowed and eyes closed, as the small print of Everard’s ordeal have been heard.
The courtroom heard Couzens had tried to eliminate Everard’s cell phone and that semen was discovered on her physique. A fraction of Everard’s sim card was present in a automotive Couzens used.
Police launched video of Couzens claiming to officers, when arrested at residence, that he had kidnapped Everard as a result of he was being threatened by a gang and was compelled handy her over to them. This was a lie, the prosecution stated.
A recording of Couzens calmly ringing a vet days after the kidnapping to make an appointment for his canine, saying it is perhaps struggling separation anxiousness, was additionally launched.
Everard’s physique was recovered seven days after the kidnapping, from woodland close to Ashford in Kent, about 20 miles west of Couzens’ residence in Deal. It was hidden and wrapped in a builder’s bag Couzens had purchased days earlier. Everard was recognized from her dental data. A postmortem confirmed she had died from compression of the neck.
Couzens was arrested at his residence in Deal on 9 March, first on suspicion of kidnap. The subsequent day, whereas in police custody, he was arrested on suspicion of homicide.
An armed officer within the Met’s elite parliamentary and diplomatic safety group, Couzens pleaded responsible to the kidnap, rape and homicide of Everard at earlier courtroom hearings, and was subsequently sacked by the Met. On Wednesday the courtroom heard Couzens was £29,000 in debt and in dispute with the Met over his pay.
The kidnapping and homicide of Everard triggered a nationwide debate concerning the security of girls within the UK and whether or not the legal justice system does sufficient to guard them and punish those that assault them.