Watch: Starmer: Sarah Everard's case needs to be a turning point
A body found in Kent woodland is that of Sarah Everard, Scotland Yard has confirmed.
Ms Everard, 33, vanished while walking home from a friend’s flat in south London on March 3, with her suspected kidnap and murder prompting anger over the safety of women on the UK’s streets.
Human remains were found in an area of woodland in Ashford, in Kent, on Wednesday.
A serving male Met Police officer remains in custody after being arrested on suspicion of her kidnap and murder on Tuesday, 9 March.
The suspect, a diplomatic protection officer in his 40s, is also being questioned over a separate allegation of indecent exposure.
On Thursday night,Ms Everard’s family released a statement describing her as a “shining example to us all”, and said she had “brought so much joy to our lives”.
Speaking to reporters outside Scotland Yard, Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said the body found in woodland in Kent was that of Sarah Everard.
Read more: Timeline of Sarah Everard's disappearance
He said: “As you know, on Wednesday evening detectives investigating the disappearance of Sarah Everard discovered a body secreted in woodland in Kent.
“The body has now been recovered and formal identification procedure has now been undertaken.
“I can now confirm that it is the body of Sarah Everard.”
Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said that Sarah Everard’s family had been told this “most distressing news”.
The Metropolitan Police officer accused of her murder remains in custody, he added.
The confirmation of Ms Everard's identification comes as the organisers of a vigil claimed the Met Police have reversed a decision allowing it to go ahead.
The vigil, which will be held in response to Ms Everard's disappearance, has been organised due to anger around the safety of women on Britain's streets.
The murder investigation comes as Scotland Yard is facing an investigation by the police watchdog into its handling of a separate allegation of indecent exposure against the arrested officer, who is in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct is to probe whether officers “responded appropriately” after receiving a report that a man had exposed himself at a fast food restaurant in south London on February 28 – three days before Ms Everard went missing.
The watchdog is also assessing a referral relating to police actions after Ms Everard was reported missing, as well as another in relation to the suspect being taken to hospital.
Utterly devastating news for Sarah Everard’s loved ones that the police have identified her body. My deepest sympathies - and those of all Londoners - are with them.
The police investigation continues - I urge anybody with information to please contact the Met on 0208 785 8244.
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) March 12, 2021
He was treated for a head injury sustained while alone in his cell on Thursday.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, said: “It is devastating news for Sarah Everard’s loved ones that the police have identified her body.
“My deepest sympathies – and those of all Londoners – are with them.”
A woman in her 30s, who was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of assisting an offender, has been released on bail to return to a police station on a date in mid-April, police said.