Sarah Everard: Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens appears in court accused of kidnap and murder

Tristan Kirk
·2-min read
<p>Wayne Couzens, pictured in a court sketch from his first court appearance on Saturday</p> (PA Wire)

Wayne Couzens, pictured in a court sketch from his first court appearance on Saturday

(PA Wire)

A serving Metropolitan Police officer accused of the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard sat hunched over with his head bowed as he was remanded in custody at the Old Bailey today.

PC Wayne Couzens, 48, appeared via videolink from HMP Belmarsh this morning to face allegations that he snatched 33-year-old Ms Everard as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham during the evening of March 3.

She was reported missing by her boyfriend the following day, and her remains were discovered in woodland in Ashford, Kent, on March 10.

Couzens, who joined the Met in 2018 and was part of the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, was wearing a grey tracksuit bottoms and a red jumper with his hands tucked into the sleeves during today’s 25-minute court hearing. He spoke only to confirm his name and age.

Couzens sat hunched forward with his head bowed during most of the hearing, moving his head back and forth as he listened to proceedings.

He has a large wound mark on the top of his forehead, from a self-inflicted injury sustained while in custody.

Tom Little QC, prosecuting, said Couzens was charged on Friday with murder and kidnap following a “significant and wide-ranging investigation”.

Judge Mark Lucraft QC, the Recorder of London, remanded Couzens in custody until a plea hearing on July 9.

Sarah EverardHandout
Sarah EverardHandout

A provisional trial date has been set for October 25.

Couzens, who was off-duty at the time of the alleged kidnap and murder, had been at his current police posting since February 2020, providing protection for embassies around London.

Ms Everard, a marketing executive, had been visiting a friend in the Clapham Junction area on the night she disappeared, and spoke to her boyfriend on the phone for 14 minutes as she started the two-and-a-half mile walk home.

She was seen on CCTV cameras as she walked alone through the streets, and was allegedly kidnapped close to the South Circular.

Her body was eventually found in a large builder’s bag following a large-scale missing persons hunt, and she was identified using dental records.

The police response at a vigil on Clapham Common has been heavily criticisedPA Wire
The police response at a vigil on Clapham Common has been heavily criticisedPA Wire

Couzens made his first court appearance at the magistrates court on Saturday morning and has been held at the category A Belmarsh prison since then.

Ms Everard’s death has prompted an outpouring of public grief and sparked a series of protests about the safety of women.

A vigil on Saturday, marking a week since Ms Everard was last seen alive, was marred by scenes of police officers pinning women to the ground, in an attempt to enforce Covid-19 regulations.

The incident has heaped pressure on Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, as the Mayor of London and the Home Secretary demanded to know how the vigil had been policed.

Couzens, from Deal in Kent, has not entered pleas to charges of murder and kidnap.

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