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Kamis, 30 September 2021

Policeman who killed Sarah Everard given life sentence for her kidnap, rape and murder - ABC News

Wayne Couzens, the former police officer who kidnapped, raped and murdered London woman Sarah Everard, will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Couzens, 48, stared at the floor at London's Old Bailey court as judge Lord Justice Fulford handed down a whole life order — the most severe sentence in the UK — on Thursday.

Lord Justice Fulford described Ms Everard's murder as "devastating" and "tragic", and said she was an "intelligent, resourceful, talented and much-loved young woman".

Ms Everard was walking home from a friend's house in south London on the evening of March 3 this year when Couzens pulled over the rental vehicle he was driving and stopped her, falsely arresting her for breaching COVID-19 restrictions and handcuffing her before putting her in the car.

Couzens joined the Metropolitan Police in 2018 and had worked as part of a team protecting diplomatic locations in central London.

He had worked an overnight shift at the US embassy on the day he kidnapped Ms Everard.

The judge said Couzens had spent at least a month travelling from his home in Kent into London to research how to commit his crimes before he carried them out.

"The degree of preparation and the length of time over which it extended is to be stressed," he said.

"He lied to his family about working a night shift on the third of March."

Lord Justice Fulford said Couzens had gone out "hunting a lone female to kidnap and rape".

"It follows from this that the defendant had planned well in advance, in all its unspeakably grim detail, what was to occur. And when he encountered Sarah Everard, all that was missing up to that point was his victim."

A screenshot of a woman in a beanie, face mask and green coat walking while speaking on the phone
CCTV vision captured some of Sarah Everard's walk home from her friend's house on the night she was kidnapped.(

Supplied: London Metropolitan Police

)

Couzens then drove Ms Everard south of London, where he raped and strangled her before burning her body and clothes in an old refrigerator in woodland, on land he owned, before dumping her remains.

Her body was found in Ashford, Kent, about 100 kilometres south-east of London, a week after she went missing.

Before the sentencing hearing began on Wednesday, the Metropolitan Police released a statement saying the force was "sickened, angered and devastated" by Couzens's crimes and he betrayed "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," the statement said.

Britain's police watchdog is looking into police failures to investigate an indecent exposure incident linked to Couzens in 2015, and two further such allegations in February this year.

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2021-09-30 11:19:54Z
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