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Ex-police officer Wayne Couzens who kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard faces sentence

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A former police officer who kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard is appearing at the Old Bailey.

Wayne Couzens, 48, was a serving Pc with the Metropolitan Police when he snatched Ms Everard as she walked home in Clapham, south London, on the evening of March 3.

Protestors outside the Old Bailey ahead of Wayne Couzens sentencing

The sexual predator, who had clocked off from a 12-hour shift that morning, went on to rape and strangle the 33-year-old marketing executive.

A week after she disappeared, Ms Everard’s body was found in a woodland stream in Great Chart, near Ashford, just metres from land owned by Couzens.

The firearms-trained parliamentary and diplomatic protection officer wiped his phone just minutes before he was arrested at his home in Deal on March 9.

The killing prompted national outrage and sparked protests at the rate of violence against women.

In July, Couzens pleaded guilty to Ms Everard’s murder, kidnap and rape by video link from jail.

Sarah Everard went missing in Brixton, South London before her body was found near Ashford
Sarah Everard went missing in Brixton, South London before her body was found near Ashford

Today, he will come face-to-face with his victim’s family when he is brought into the dock of the Old Bailey.

Prosecutor Tom Little QC will open the case, revealing more information about how Ms Everard met her death and how police tracked down the culprit.

Couzens’ lawyer Jim Sturman QC is then expected to offer mitigation on behalf of the defendant.

Before handing down his sentence tomorrow (Thursday), Lord Justice Fulford will consider a whole life order, which could mean Couzens may never be released from prison.

This morning, protesters from Sisters Uncut – a campaign group for domestic violence services – gathered outside holding banners saying 'Met Police blood on your hands'.

A spokesman from the group said: "We are her today to let the Met Police know that we aren't going to accept this performance of justice of putting their own behind bars.

"We know the Met Police are inherently violent and Sarah Everard is not an anomaly.

"It is only until we dismantle the entire institution of the police force will we begin to see justice. There will be no justice until we stop having murdered women on our streets so that's why we're here today.

A Met Police statement released today repeated words used by its Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick in July. It said: "We are sickened, angered and devastated by this man’s crimes which betray everything we stand for.

"Our thoughts are with Sarah’s family and her many friends. It is not possible for us to imagine what they are going through.

"We recognise his actions raise many questions and concerns but we will not be commenting further until the hearing is complete."

Speaking outside the Old Bailey in July, Dame Cressida said she was “very sorry” for the loss, pain and suffering of the Everard family.

She said: “All of us in the Met are sickened, angered and devastated by this man’s truly dreadful crimes. Everyone in policing feels betrayed.”

The police watchdog has received a string of referrals relating to the Couzens case, with 12 police officers being investigated.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it was looking at whether the Met failed to investigate two allegations of indecent exposure relating to Couzens in February, just days before the killing.

Kent Police are also being investigated over their response to a third allegation of indecent exposure dating back to 2015.

The case has prompted renewed concern about police recruitment checks and why Couzens continued to hold a warrant card, despite the allegations of sexual offences.

Scotland Yard has said there was no information available at the time that would have altered the vetting decision in his case.

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