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‘Sarah died because he was a police officer’: Everard family statement in full

<span>Sarah Everard: ‘Her death has not been dismissed as a tragic event to be acknowledged with sympathy and then forgotten – questions have been raised and actions taken.’</span><span>Photograph: Family Handout/PA</span>
Sarah Everard: ‘Her death has not been dismissed as a tragic event to be acknowledged with sympathy and then forgotten – questions have been raised and actions taken.’Photograph: Family Handout/PA

Here is the full statement put out by the family of Sarah Everard in response to the Angiolini inquiry into her murder by the former Metropolitan police officer Wayne Couzens.

We have read, with great interest, the first part of the Angiolini inquiry and we are enormously grateful to Lady Elish and her team for their meticulous and in-depth work. The inquiry has raised many important issues and will undoubtedly help to establish changes that will improve the safety of women and girls.

As a family, the inquiry has helped us, not just because of its significant findings, but because its implementation made us feel that Sarah’s life was valued and her memory honoured.

Her death has not been dismissed as a tragic event to be acknowledged with sympathy and then forgotten – questions have been raised and actions taken to investigate how this tragedy happened. As a family, we have not had to fight for answers and, for this, we are very thankful.

It is obvious that Wayne Couzens should never have been a police officer. Whilst holding a position of trust, in reality he was a serial sex offender. Warning signs were overlooked throughout his career and opportunities to confront him were missed.

We believe that Sarah died because he was a police officer – she would never have got into a stranger’s car. We strongly support the recommendations that Lady Elish has made and trust that these will be implemented forthwith. We cannot get Sarah back, but positive changes give hope for the future and will be of benefit to others.

It is almost three years now since Sarah died. We no longer wait for her call; we no longer expect to see her. We know she won’t be there at family gatherings. But the desperate longing to have her with us remains and the loss of Sarah pervades every part of our lives. The care and support of family, friends and the wider community have helped us to bear this and we would like to thank them.

We will be forever grateful to Lady Elish and her team for their hard work, support and consideration. They have our heartfelt thanks. We would also like to thank the Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, who, in her role as home secretary, commissioned the inquiry.