Sarah Everard Killer “Abused Lockdown Powers”

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has said that former Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens may have abused his Covid lockdown powers to lure Sarah Everard into his car. 

Everard was kidnapped by Couzens as she walked home from a friend’s home near Clapham Common in south London on March 3rd. According to the CPS, the former firearms officer strangled the 33-year-old to death with his police belt after raping her in his car. 

Everard’s body was then burnt and dumped in a pond in woods near Ashford, Kent.

Appearing for trial at the Old Bailey on Wednesday, Tom Little QC of the CPS said that Couzens had worked Covid patrol shifts in January 2021 and was “therefore aware of the regulations and what language to use to those who may have breached them.” 

“The fact [Everard] had been to a friend’s house for dinner at the height of the early 2021 lockdown made her more vulnerable to, and/or more likely to, submit to an accusation that she had acted in breach of the regulations in some way.” 

CCTV footage played to the court reportedly showed Couzens touching his belt and showing his warrant card to Everard. She was then handcuffed before being placed in the back of a Vauxhall Crossland hire car. 

Speaking on Thursday ahead of Couzens’ sentencing, judge Lord Justice Fulford said that he had “no doubt that Couzens used his position as a police officer to coerce [Everard] into the car” before calling the 33-year-old marketing executive a “wholly blameless victim of a grotesque series of circumstances.” The judge added that Couzens went “hunting a lone female to kidnap and rape” having planned his actions in “unspeakably” grim detail. 

During mitigation earlier on Thursday, defence barrister Jim Sturman QC said his client, who bowed his head for the majority of the hearing, was filled with “self-loathing.” Arguing against a whole-life sentence, he told the Old Bailey that nothing he said was intended to minimise the “horror” of Couzens’ actions and said the former police officer “accepts he will receive and deserves severe punishment.” 

“No right-minded person ... can feel anything other than revulsion for what he did.”