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“In the evenings, at the time she was abducted, I let out a silent scream: Don’t get in the car, Sarah. Don’t believe him. Run!”
Amid the reporting of the day’s events, I keep returning to the harrowing, grief-stricken words of Susan Everard, Sarah’s mother, from her victim impact statement.
If you can bear it, do take the time to read the statements in full from her mother, father Jeremy and sister Katie.
Our Courts Correspondent Tristan Kirk has written a detailed piece on the “monster” that lurked behind the trusted police officer’s family man façade.
The part I find most odd today is the Met’s attempt to distance itself from Couzens. Simon Harding, a senior investigator in the Everard case, said that “Police officers do not view Wayne Couzens as a police officer — they view him as a murderer who happened to be a police officer.”
Yet as we set out in today’s leader column, Couzens was a police officer. He had the uniform, the power and the implicit trust of the public. It is how he was able to lure Sarah Everard into his car, using Covid-19 laws and handcuffs to stage a bogus arrest.
To eradicate his profession is to whitewash history and diminish the police’s role in what happened to Everard.
The revelations about Couzens’s past are similarly shocking. In 2015, Kent police were made aware of a man, thought to be Couzens, driving naked from the waist down. This was not the only such incident.
Couzens was cited for two counts of indecent exposure at a fast-food chain in south London just three days before he kidnapped Everard. Former colleagues apparently referred to him as “the rapist”.
It raises the very real possibility that Everard’s life could have been saved if police had read the warning signs about Couzens and acted upon them. Home Secretary Priti Patel said the Met must now answer “serious questions” over the case.
In the comment pages, Standard Editor Emily Sheffield asks how many more stories do women need to repeat before they are listened to?
And finally, Charlotte O’Sullivan reviews Oliver Sacks: His Own Life - a documentary about the famed neurologist and author which she describes as one of the loveliest and most thought-provoking films of 2021.
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