A Metropolitan Police officer has pleaded guilty to the murder of Sarah Everard in a case that has sparked widespread shock and outrage.
Wayne Couzens, 48, kidnapped Ms Everard in a rental car as she was driving home alone from a friend’s house in Clapham, south London on the evening of March 3.
The sexual predator, who had completed a 12-hour shift that morning, then raped and strangled the 33-year-old marketing manager.
Police have launched an urgent investigation after Ms Everard was reported missing by her boyfriend Josh Lowth.
Couzens, a gun-trained parliamentary and diplomatic protection officer, wiped his phone minutes before being arrested at his home in Deal, Kent on March 9.
The next day – a week after her disappearance – Ms Everard’s body was found in a wooded stream in Ashford, Kent, a few yards from land owned by Couzens.
The murder sparked protests over the rate of violence against women.
Police have been criticized for mistreating women during a vigil for Ms Everard in the presence of the Duchess of Cambridge.
Last month, Couzens pleaded guilty to the kidnapping and rape of Ms Everard.
He pleaded guilty to his murder on Friday when he appeared at the Old Bailey via video link from Belmarsh High Security Prison.
It can now be reported that Couzens, who joined the Met in 2018, had booked a rental of a Vauxhall Astra and purchased a roll of sticker film a few days before the murder.
At around 9 p.m. on March 3, Ms Everard set off on foot for the two-and-a-half-mile trip home, chatting with her boyfriend by cell phone on the way.
A camera attached to a marked passing police car captured her walking alone at 9:32 p.m.
Just three minutes later, a bus camera appeared to capture the moment she was intercepted by Couzens in Balham, south London.
Two figures could be seen standing near the rental car, which was parked on the sidewalk with its hazard lights flashing.
After snatching Ms Everard, Couzens left London to arrive in the Tilmanstone area, near Deal, at 1 a.m.
Investigators tracked the car’s route using CCTV cameras and ANPR and identified the driver as an agent on duty through the car rental company.
Couzens had used his personal details and bank card to make the reservation, picking up the Vauxhall Astra on the afternoon of the pickup and returning it the next morning.
In the days that followed, Couzens reported he was suffering from stress and no longer wanted to carry a gun, according to a case summary.
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On March 8, the day he was scheduled to take up duty, he declared himself ill.
The next day, police arrested Couzens at 7:50 p.m. – 39 minutes after erasing data from his cell phone.
In an interview with the police, Couzens concocted an elaborate story and claimed to have financial problems.
He said he got into trouble with a gang of East Europeans who threatened him and his family.
A gang demanded that he deliver “another girl” after underpaying a prostitute weeks earlier, he said.
He kidnapped Ms Everard, drove her out of London and handed her over to three Eastern European men in a van at a Kent rest area, still alive and unharmed, Couzens said.
Meanwhile, police discovered that Couzens and his wife bought a small plot of timber in 2019 in Ashford.
Telephone data led officers to the site and at 4:45 p.m. a body was found approximately 100 meters outside the property lines.
The remains thrown into a stream inside a large bag of Green Builders have been identified as Ms. Everard’s by dental records.
Further investigations revealed that the same day Couzens booked the rental car, he purchased a roll of self-adhesive film from Amazon.
Two days after Ms Everard was last seen, Couzens was caught on CCTV buying two bags of green rubble from B&Q in Dover.
He then ordered a tarp and an elastic cargo net for delivery on March 7.
Even though Couzens’ phone had been erased, data from the cell site linked it to the kidnapping and the area where Ms Everard was ultimately found.
Not only was his device located there in the early hours of March 4, but also in the days leading up to his arrest.
The accused made no comment in a formal interview and was charged on March 12.
At a previous hearing, prosecutor Tom Little QC had underlined the “significant” risks of Couzens recidivism if he was released on bail.
He cited an alleged incident of indecent exposure on February 28 – days before the murder.
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This notice was published: 2021-07-09 09:47:19