Sarah Everard Was Falsely Arrested by Killer Earlier than She Was Raped and Murdered

LONDON — A police officer discovered responsible of the homicide of Sarah Everard in London earlier this 12 months used the false pretense that she was violating Covid-19 laws to abduct her earlier than he raped and killed her, a prosecutor informed a London courtroom on Wednesday.

Her abduction and homicide in March galvanized a national movement demanding better protections for women, however the harrowing particulars of how the officer, Wayne Couzens, used his official police credentials, tools and coaching to hold out the crime had been detailed publicly for the primary time throughout his sentencing listening to.

The prosecution referred to as Mr. Couzens’ actions an assault of “deception, kidnap, rape, strangulation, fire.”

When Ms. Everard was kidnapped on March 3, Britain was within the midst of a nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Folks’s actions had been restricted and the laws had been usually enforced by the native police.

Tom Little, a prosecutor, described in court docket how Mr. Couzens confronted Ms. Everard in South London as she walked house from a buddy’s home and carried out “a false arrest” for breaching lockdown pointers, to get Ms. Everard into his automobile.

Mr. Couzens, who was a diplomatic safety officer with the Metropolitan Police, used his warrant card — a sort of police identification card — earlier than restraining her with handcuffs after which driving away, in keeping with the prosecutor.

Her stays had been found seven days later in wooded space close to Ashford in Kent, roughly 60 miles from London.

Credit score…-/Agence France-Presse, by way of Metropolitan Police/Afp Through Getty Photos

Mr. Couzens had labored on Covid patrols just a few months earlier, the prosecutor informed the court docket, giving him an understanding of the protocols relating to potential lockdown breaches.

A witness passing by in a automobile noticed what was taking place and famous that it seemed irregular, however thought it was only a police officer detaining a girl “who had done something wrong,” the prosecutor informed the court docket.

Footage from surveillance cameras confirmed that Ms. Everard complied with Mr. Couzens’ demand to get into the automobile, as she more than likely believed she was being arrested.

Rights teams reacted with outrage to the brand new data.

The Ladies’s Equality Social gathering stated the kidnapping on this method was “a disgusting abuse of power,” and referred to as for an impartial inquiry into sexism within the Metropolitan Police power and for violence in opposition to ladies and ladies to be handled as a nationwide risk.

“Women cannot be expected to trust the police when we have to live with the fear of this,” the social gathering stated in a press release. “Misogyny is steeped in our institutions.”

Many have been vital of the failure by the police to research allegations of different sexual offenses by Mr. Couzens earlier than the homicide of Ms. Everard, including reports that he exposed himself in public days earlier than the assault.

On Wednesday, London’s Metropolitan Police posted a press release forward of the sentencing listening to acknowledging that Mr. Couzens’ “actions raise many concerns.

“We are sickened, angered and devastated by this man’s crimes which betray everything we stand for,” the police stated in a press release.

Ms. Everard was reported lacking by her boyfriend the day after being kidnapped, when she didn’t return house, and shortly a lacking individuals poster unfold on social media.

The urgency over her disappearance quickly turned to grief after which anger after her physique was discovered.

The crime set off a nationwide motion as ladies shared their very own tales of harassment on the streets and accounts of sexual violence, calling for action to handle the problem of girls’s security.

It spurred road protests within the midst of the lockdown, with demonstrators calling for systemic adjustments to the best way the police deal with crimes in opposition to ladies.

The truth that Mr. Couzens was a police officer solely intensified the general public anger over Ms. Everard’s demise. He may withstand life in jail for his crimes.

In July, after Ms. Everard’s homicide and different situations of deadly violence in opposition to ladies, the British authorities introduced a new strategy to tackle this type of violence. The measures included proposed harsher penalties for offenders and elevated policing of public areas.

After Ms. Everard’s demise and subsequent protests in opposition to policing, Priti Patel, the house secretary, commissioned a report from an impartial watchdog group to evaluate the policing response to violence in opposition to ladies and ladies.

The report, launched this month, referred to as for a “radical change of approach across the whole system involving the police, criminal justice system, local authorities, health and education.”

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