‘A nightmare’: What life in prison will look like for Wayne Couzens

·3-min read

PC Wayne Couzens can expect a lifetime of horrors behind bars with his fellow whole tariff lifers, which include convicted police killers, for company.

He will be sent to HMP Belmarsh for assessment before joining the “dispersal system”, a network of five top-security jails across the UK with “nowhere to hide” from the worst criminals in the country.

Couzens will die behind bars after he was sentenced yesterday to a whole life order for kidnapping, raping and murdering Sarah Everard in March.

Noel Smith, a reformed armed robber who now works as an editor for a prison magazine, has revealed what Couzens can expect from life in jail.

He told the Standard: “It’s going to be a nightmare for him from beginning to end.

“He is going into a very small exclusive club of whole tariff lifers of less than 60 people in the UK.

“Several of them are police killers and still hate them. Because they are a small faction it is very hard to segregate them - the system is too small. They will be seeing each other throughout. There will be nowhere to hide for him.”

He described Couzens as a “unique prisoner” and the only police officer he has ever heard of to get a whole life tariff.

Other prisoners who have received the sentence include serial killer Rose West and Milly Dowler’s murderer Levi Bellfield.

“He will have an idea of what they do to police officers in jail. They tell them that when they join,” he said.

“If he was in a normal prison he would be stabbed, scalded or raped every day.

“So he will be kept in his cell for most of the day and will rarely see anybody, especially for the first five or six years.

“A lot of people don’t understand top security prisons because they have never been in it. There is no protection.”

Reformed character Noel Smith is now an editor of a magazine for prisioners (Supplied)
Reformed character Noel Smith is now an editor of a magazine for prisioners (Supplied)

Couzens, who has already been taken to hospital twice with head injuries he sustained in prison, will be placed under suicide watch until the day he dies.

Mr Smith added: “He seemed suicidal keeping his head down and shaking in court.

“Where he is going they are filmed 24 hours a day in the cell, you can just check a screen. All the cells are specially designed so you can’t commit suicide or escape. People will shine a light on him every 15 minutes throughout the night.

“He’s going to be under observation for the rest of his life.

“It doesn't strike you until later that you are never going to get out. It plants a seed of depression in your mind that the next six months you are going to be getting up every morning and seeing the same walls and knowing they are all you are going to see for the rest of your days.

“You are never going to see a tree again or most probably the people who you love.

“So he will be feeling remorseful for what he’s done, I imagine, if only for his own sake on his own in a cell.

“When the reality hits you that you are never ever going to walk on the street, see a tree, get on a bus, drive a car - all the little things we are taking for granted. I imagine he would be quite suicidal.

“These people are held in these conditions because they are terrible characters who have committed terrible crimes that have outraged public decency and humanity.”

Michael Adebolajo, one of Fusilier Lee Rigby’s killers, is also serving a life term without parole.

Other notorious lifers are Mark Bridger, 55, who abducted and murdered five-year-old April Jones in Powys, Wales, in 2012; neo-Nazi Thomas Mair who killed MP Jo Cox; Grindr serial killer Stephen Port; and most recently terror attacker Khairi Saadallah - who murdered three men in a park in Reading.

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