Family of Sarah Everard ‘haunted by horror’ of her murder at hands of police officer

·6-min read
Sarah Everard (CPS)
Sarah Everard (CPS)

The family of Sarah Everard branded killer PC Wayne Couzens a “monster” and “the very worst of humanity”, as they tearfully revealed how they have been left haunted by the terrifying final moments of her life.

Ms Everard was captured by Couzens as she walked home through the streets of south London, before being driven to secluded spots in Kent where she was raped and murdered.

The 33-year-old marketing executive’s burned remains were eventually discovered in woodland on March 10, a week after she had gone missing.

Across an Old Bailey courtroom, Ms Everard’s mother Susan said she is “haunted by the horror” of her daughter’s death and lets out a “silent scream” every evening while imagining the kidnapping.

Father Jeremy Everard and sister Katie demanded that Couzens raise his head and look at them from the dock, as they vowed never to forgive the Met Police officer for the horrific crimes.

“Mr Couzens, please will you look at me”, said Mr Everard, a Professor at the University of York, as he began his statement.

“The impact of what you have done will never end. The horrendous murder of my daughter, Sarah, is in my mind all the time and will be for the rest of my life.

“A father wants to look after his children and fix everything and you have deliberately and with premeditation stopped my ability to do that.”

He said the way his daughter was handcuffed and helpless “preys on my mind all the time”.

“There is no redemption for what you have done, for taking Sarah away from us”, he added.

Wayne Couzens, 48, has admitted the rape and murder of Sarah Everard (Met Police/PA) (PA Media)
Wayne Couzens, 48, has admitted the rape and murder of Sarah Everard (Met Police/PA) (PA Media)

“You burnt our daughter’s body - you further tortured us - so that we could not see her again. We did not know whether you had burnt her alive or dead. You stopped us seeing Sarah for one last time and stopped me from giving my daughter one last kiss goodbye.”

Fighting back tears, he said: “All my family want is Sarah back with us. No punishment that you receive will ever compare to the pain and torture that you have inflicted on us.

“You murdered our daughter and forever broke the hearts of her mother, father, brother, sister, family and her friends.

“Sarah had so much to look forward to and because of you this is now gone forever. She was saving to buy a house and looking forward to marriage and children. We were looking forward to having grandchildren. We loved being a part of Sarah’s world and expected her to have a full and happy life. The closest we can get to her now is to visit her grave every day.”

Mrs Everard described how the family has been left with a “yawning chasm” in their lives since her disappearance on March 3.

Sarah Everard (CPS)
Sarah Everard (CPS)

“Sarah is gone and I am broken-hearted. She was my precious little girl, our youngest child. The feeling of loss is so great it is visceral. And with the sorrow come waves of panic at not being able to see her again”, she said.

“I can never talk to her, never hold her again, and never more be a part of her life. We have kept her dressing gown - it still smells of her and I hug that instead of her.”

Mrs Everard said she lets out a “silent scream” each evening, at the time her daughter was kidnapped by Couzens while walking home from dinner at a friend’s house.

“I think of Sarah all the time, but the mornings and evenings are particularly painful. In the morning I wake up to the awful reality that Sarah is gone.

“In the evenings, at the time she was abducted, I let out a silent scream: ‘Don’t get in the car, Sarah. Don’t believe him. Run!’”

Mrs Everard added that she is “repulsed by the thought of Wayne Couzens and what he did to Sarah”, as well as “outraged that he masqueraded as a policeman in order to get what he wanted”.

“In her last hours she was faced with brutality and terror, alone with someone intent on doing her harm. The thought of it is unbearable. I am haunted by the horror of it”, she said.

“Sarah died in horrendous circumstances. I am tormented at the thought of what she endured. I play it out in my mind.

“I go through the terrible sequence of events. I wonder when she realized she was in mortal danger. I wonder what her murderer said to her. When he strangled her, for how long was she conscious, knowing she would die? It is torture to think of it. Sarah was handcuffed, unable to defend herself and there was no one to rescue her.

“She spent her last hours on this earth with the very worst of humanity. She lost her life because Wayne Couzens wanted to satisfy his perverted desires. It is a ridiculous reason, it is nonsensical; how could he value a human life so cheaply? I cannot comprehend it. I am incandescent with rage at the thought of it. He treated my daughter as if she was nothing and disposed of her as if she was rubbish.”

She paid tribute to her daughter, a “beautiful dancer”, calling her funny, clever, caring, and a “wonderful daughter”.

Ms Everard’s older sister Katie also demanded that Couzens look her in the eye as she described being “horrified” by his ability to resume normal life after the murder.

She said Couzens had effectively “flytipped” her sister’s body “like she meant nothing”, and said she is tormented by thoughts of what happened in the final hours.

“She never got home because a predator - you - was on the loose. Prowling the streets for hours looking for his prey”, she said.

“You can’t comprehend what you are being told when it happened because it is so horrific. Some sort of sick waking nightmare. You can’t imagine anyone could do such a thing.

“I replay it continuously round in my head. What you may have said to her, what she may have said back, when she realised she was in grave danger and was not going to survive. Hoping my sister was unconscious and drugged, but we know that was not the case – no drugs found in her body, no trauma to the head. Burst blood vessels in her brain from your strangulation. Which meant she was conscious when you were doing these unfathomable things to her.

“My only hope is that she was in a state of shock and that she wasn’t aware of the disgusting things being done to her by a monster. When you forced yourself upon and raped her. When you put your hands around her neck and strangled her. It disgusts me that you were the last person to touch her perfect body and violate her in the way you did. The last person to see her alive and speak to her. How scared she must have been. The last moments of her life not with loved ones, but frightened and fighting for her life.”

Couzens has sat with his head bowed throughout the court hearing today, but lifted his head slightly when demanded by Ms Everard’s family. However he did not make eye contact with the grieving relatives.

He is due to be sentenced tomorrow, and may face a whole life prison term.

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