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She died because Wayne Couzens was a police officer, say Sarah Everard’s family

Sarah Everard died because her killer Wayne Couzens was a police officer and he should never have been allowed to take on that role, her family have said.

In a statement released on Thursday, Miss Everard’s mother Sue, father Jeremy and siblings Katie and James said they had found hope that the “significant findings” announced in the first part of the Angiolini Inquiry could lead to changes to keep other women safe.

“We believe that Sarah died because he was a police officer – she would never have got into a stranger’s car,” they said.

Angiolini Inquiry
Inquiry chairwoman Lady Elish Angiolini (Aaron Chown/PA)

The statement added: “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.”

Wayne Couzens court case
Sarah Everard was murdered by Wayne Couzens in 2021( Metropolitan Police/PA)

The family added that they “strongly support” the recommendations made by inquiry chairwoman Lady Elish Angiolini and trust they will be implemented.

“We cannot get Sarah back, but positive changes give hope for the future and will be of benefit to others,” the statement said.

“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.”

Ms Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, was raped and killed by Couzens, who was off duty, as she walked home in south London on March 3 2021.

The actions of Couzens, who was later convicted of a series of earlier offences of indecent exposure and is serving a whole-life jail term, prompted a widespread outpouring of grief and demonstrations over concern for women’s safety.

A vigil for Ms Everard, held amid ongoing Covid restrictions in March 2021, was attended by hundreds of people, including the Princess of Wales.

The Met was criticised for its heavy handling of the later stages of the vigil when arrests were made, with the force subsequently making pay-outs to two women.

Earlier this month, the BBC announced a new documentary, Sarah Everard: The Search For Justice, to look at the aftermath of Miss Everard’s murder.

Her family said they hoped the documentary would “contribute to the ongoing dialogue” around violence against women and the way police approach these types of cases.