A British police officer admits he murdered Sarah Everard: NPR
Floral tributes and messages will be displayed at the bandstand on Clapham Common in London to commemorate Sarah Everard earlier this year. Alberto Pezzali / AP Hide caption
Alberto Pezzali / AP
Alberto Pezzali / AP
LONDON – A British police officer pleaded guilty on Friday to murdering a 33-year-old woman who was kidnapped while walking home from a friend’s house in south London.
Wayne Couzens previously admitted to kidnapping and raping Sarah Everard, a marketing executive who went missing on March 3rd. Couzens pleaded guilty to murder during a hearing in London’s Central Criminal Court and appeared via video link from the maximum security Belmarsh prison.
An extensive police investigation began following Everard’s disappearance. Her body was found a week later in a wooded area more than 50 miles southeast of London.
The search for Everard and the news of her murder sparked a national outcry. Women shared their experiences of threats, attacks or simply the everyday fear of violence when they were alone.
Police in the UK capital came under fire after some women who attended a vigil for Everard were arrested for violating coronavirus restrictions.
Couzens, 48, joined the London Metropolitan Police in 2018 and most recently served in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, an armed unit responsible for guarding embassies in the capital and in Parliament.
Prosecutor Tom Little said Couzens kidnapped Everard, a total stranger, in a rental car. Her body was found in a forest near a property owned by Couzens. Despite his admission of guilt, prosecutors said Couzens did not reveal where he raped and killed Everard.
“We still don’t know what drove him to this horrific crime against a stranger,” said Carolyn Oakley of the Crown Prosecution Service. “Today is not the day to learn the facts about what happened to Sarah. Today is a day to remember Sarah and our thoughts stay with her family and friends. “
Couzens is due to be sentenced during a two-day hearing that begins September 29.
Police have expressed shock and horror at his crime, but face an investigation by the police officer into how they dealt with allegations of indecent disclosure of Couzen’s days before Everard’s kidnapping.