Published: 18:06, 16 July 2021
| Updated: 18:23, 16 July 2021
The police officer who kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard has been dismissed from the Met.
Wayne Couzens was sacked with immediate effect following the conclusion of an accelerated misconduct hearing today.
The session chaired by Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball found the conduct of PC Couzens, 48, and of Freemens Way, Deal, breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour in respect of discreditable conduct.
Couzens faces a whole-life term but despite his guilty pleas and the fact such hearings would usually be public, AC Ball ruled there remains a real risk of undermining the criminal case and held it behind closed doors.
AC Ball said: “Couzens has betrayed everything we, the police, stand for and following his guilty pleas and convictions I have dismissed him today.
“All of us in the Met are horrified, sickened and angered by this man’s crimes. Sarah was a young woman who had her life cruelly snatched away from her. I know she is sorely missed by so many people and our thoughts remain with her loved ones. We are so profoundly sorry.”
Having joined in September 2018 he was initially based in the Bromley area but in February last year moved to the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command where his primary role was uniformed patrols, mainly at a range of embassies in the capital.
He had previously worked as a special constable with Kent Police and for the Civil Nuclear Constabulary.
At the Old Bailey last week Couzens lawyer told a judge that his client had told him that morning that he "deserves" to bear the burden for the rest of his life.
He had appeared in court in June and admitted counts of rape and kidnapping but, while his lawyer said at the time “responsibility for the killing is also admitted”, he did not initially enter a plea to murder.
When first arrest Couzens weaved an outlandish yarn about gangsters.
He told detectives he had kidnapped Sarah on the orders of Eastern European mobsters to settle a debt racked up after he had failed to pay for a prostitute he had regularly met at Folkestone’s Holiday Inn.
Couzens said that after abducting the 33-year-old he had delivered her to the gang who were waiting in a lane, when in fact he had murdered her.
Medical reports relating to his “mental state” will now be taken into account at a later sentencing hearing.
His wife, Olena Couzens, attended last week's hearing via video-link while Met Commissioner Cressida Dick appeared in court in person.
Couzens appeared via video-link from HMP Belmarsh. He wore a blue sweatshirt and grey tracksuit bottoms.
He sat with his head down and hands together and spoke only to confirm his identity and say "guilty" when asked how he pleaded to the charge of murder.
Miss Everard, a marketing executive, was abducted while walking home in south London in March and was later discovered more than 50 miles away in Great Chart, near Ashford. A post-mortem report revealed she had been strangled.
Miss Everard, originally from York, went missing while walking home to Brixton after visiting a friend.
Human remains were discovered a week later next to a defunct leisure and golf complex in Great Chart, with dental records confirming the body belonged to Miss Everard.
Last week the court heard how detectives had carried out a "mammoth investigation".
Lord Justice Adrian Fulford said: "It is astonishing the amount of work that has been done investigating this matter in such a short period of time; this has been a mammoth investigation which has produced some very significant results in terms of coming to understand what happened."
He added he needed a note from lawyers to help him determine the kind of life sentence Couzens will receive. He said: "I will need to understand the nature of the life sentence to be imposed."
Representing Couzens, Jim Sterman QC said: "His pleas represent truly genuine guilt and remorse for what he did and as he put it to us this morning, he will bear this burden for the rest of his life, and 'I deserve to' is what he said.
“He accepts the victims in this case are the Everard family and friends, not him. He does not feel sorry for himself he feels sorry for what he did.”
Police are still analysing evidence in the murder of Sarah in an attempt to establish exactly what happened to her.
Prosecutor Tom Little QC, told the Old Bailey: “There are some scientific findings which need to be concluded and then potentially some statistical evaluation in order to consider whether, for example, mixed DNA may contain blood or semen.
“That may go to establish where it was that Sarah Everard was raped and where she was murdered.
“The only account that you have for him is that he gave on April 9 is when he gave an entirely false story as to what happened to the deceased.
"You wish to be in the position where you can set out as fully as possible what the Crown’s understanding is of the train of events that led to her death.”
He added that, contrary to some early reports, Miss Everard and Couzens were “total strangers”.
He said: "Before the defendant kidnapped Sarah Everard on the South Circular on March 3, he had not previously met her, did not know her, and had no direct or indirect contact with her.
“They were total strangers to each other.”
A woman in her 30s was arrested at the same time as Couzens on suspicion of assisting an offender but no further action was taken.
Couzens is due to be sentenced on September 29.