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Sarah Everard's family remember their 'caring, funny, wonderful daughter'

The family of Sarah Everard demanded Wayne Couzens looked at them as they told of their pain.

Couzens is appearing at the Old Bailey today and tomorrow after pleading guilty to kidnapping, raping and killing the 33-year-old marketing executive earlier this year.

Sarah Everard
Sarah Everard

Sarah went missing from south London while walking home from a friend's house in early March and her body was discovered 80 miles away near Ashford a week later.

A post-mortem report revealed she had been strangled.

The court has this afternoon heard victim impact statements read by her family, in which they remembered "caring, funny, wonderful" Sarah and told of their heartbreak.

Her mother, Susan Everard said: "Sarah is gone and I am broken hearted. She was my precious little girl, our youngest child. The feeling of loss is so great it is visceral.

"And with the sorrow come waves of panic at not being able to see her again. I can never talk to her, never hold her again, and never more be a part of her life.

"We have kept her dressing gown - it still smells of her and I hug that instead of her.

Wayne Couzens, 48. Picture: Facebook
Wayne Couzens, 48. Picture: Facebook

"She spent her last hours on this earth with the very worst of humanity.

"She lost her life because Wayne Couzens wanted to satisfy his perverted desires.

"It is a ridiculous reason, it is nonsensical; how could he value a human life so cheaply? I cannot comprehend it. I am incandescent with rage at the thought of it.

"He treated my daughter as if she was nothing and disposed of her as if she was rubbish.

"Our lives will never be the same. We should be a family of five, but now we are four. Her death leaves a yawning chasm in our lives that cannot be filled. I yearn for her.

"I remember all the lovely things about her: she was caring, she was funny.

"She was clever, but she was good at practical things too. She was a beautiful dancer. She was a wonderful daughter.

Sarah Everard
Sarah Everard

"She was always there to listen, to advise, or simply to share with the minutiae of the day.

"And she was also a strongly principled young woman who knew right from wrong and who lived by those values.

"She was a good person. She had purpose to her life.

"My outlook on life has changed since Sarah died: I am more cautious; I worry more about our other children. I crave the familiarity and security of home; the wider world has lost its appeal.

"It is too painful to contemplate a future without Sarah, so I just live in the here and now. I think of Sarah all the time, but the mornings and evenings are particularly painful.

"I don’t know how anyone could be so cruel as to take my daughter’s life. What I do know is that Sarah will never be forgotten and is remembered with boundless love.

The court today heard how Couzens arrested and handcuffed Sarah before he raped and murdered her.

Sarah's family delivered their statements after the Old Bailey heard how Couzens, who was off duty at the time, posed as an undercover police officer when he "hunted for a lone young female to rape and kidnap."

Her father, Jeremy Everard, addressed Couzens directly as he said: "The impact of what you have done will never end. The horrendous murder of my daughter, Sarah, is in my mind all the time and will be for the rest of my life.

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

"A father wants to look after his children and fix everything and you have deliberately and with pre-meditation stopped my ability to do that.

"You stopped us seeing Sarah for one last time and stopped me from giving my daughter one last kiss goodbye.

"All my family want is Sarah back with us. No punishment that you receive will ever compare to the pain and torture that you have inflicted on us.

"You murdered our daughter and forever broke the hearts of her mother, father, brother, sister, family and her friends.

"We loved being a part of Sarah’s world and expected her to have a full and happy life.

"The closest we can get to her now is to visit her grave every day."

Sarah's sister, Katie Everard, also read out a statement detailing her grief.

Both she and her father demanded Couzens looked at them while they read their moving statements.

Couzens responded by turning to both when asked, but did not look straight at them - instead remaining hunched over with his head down.

Katie said: "We had to go to the flat and pack up Sarah's whole life - washing left hanging up, half sewn outfits, deliveries waiting to be returned, packages waiting at the door ready to be opened.

"All signs of a life waiting to be lived- chores to be done, ready for her to return and continue when she got home.

Wayne Couzens as a Kent Police special at a training event at Folkestone police station in 2008 Picture: Dave Downey
Wayne Couzens as a Kent Police special at a training event at Folkestone police station in 2008 Picture: Dave Downey

"But she never got home because a predator - you - was on the loose. Prowling the streets for hours looking for his prey.

"You can't comprehend what you are being told when it happened because it is so horrific. Some sort of sick waking nightmare. You can't imagine anyone could do such a thing.

"How dare you take her from me? Take away her hopes and dreams. Her life. Children that will never be born. Generations that will never exist. Her future no longer exists. The future I was supposed to live with my sister no longer exists. You have ruined so many lives.

"Sarah is the very best person with so many people who love and cherish her. I want to speak to her and hug her and hear her laugh and go out for dinners and drinks and dancing.

"All those conversations we can never have. There were so many things I wanted to share with her - trips abroad, being each other's bridesmaid, meeting her babies and being an Aunty, growing old together and seeing who got the most wrinkles. We weren't even halfway through our journey and you took it all away!

"I feel like I live in a make-believe world. As if nothing is real. I have to pretend because the thought of not having Sarah forever is too hard to bear. A lifetime now seems a very long time.

"I should never have to write a eulogy for or bury my little sister. There is no punishment that you could receive that will ever compare to the pain you have caused us.

"We can never get Sarah back. The last moments of Sarah's life play on my mind constantly. I am so disgusted and appalled. It terrifies me that you have such disregard for a person's life.

"You have taken from me the most precious person. And I can never get her back."

Read more: Protestors release smoke guns outside the Old Bailey ahead of sentencing

Read more: An insight into the life of murderer Wayne Couzens

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