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A timeline of the key events in the disappearance of Sarah Everard and how the investigation's focus switched to Kent

The investigation into the disappearance of Sarah Everard has seen police switch their focus from where she was last seen in south London to Kent.

Here is a timeline of the key events:

Missing: Sarah Everard
Missing: Sarah Everard

– Wednesday, March 3: The 33-year-old marketing executive goes missing after leaving a friend’s house in Clapham, south London, around 9pm.

– March 6: Metropolitan Police raise the alarm over Ms Everard’s disappearance, saying it was “totally out of character” for her not to be in contact with family and friends. Police release a CCTV image of her, saying she was thought to have walked through Clapham Common after leaving her friend’s flat, heading towards her home in Brixton, a journey which should have taken around 50 minutes.

– March 7: Police release footage taken from a private doorbell-type camera showing Ms Everard was walking alone along the A205 Poynders Road towards Tulse Hill, just south of Brixton. Police say it is unclear whether or not she reached her house. She was last seen wearing a green rain jacket, navy blue trousers with a white diamond pattern and turquoise and orange trainers, and was thought to have been wearing green earphones and a white beanie hat. Scotland Yard says the investigation is being led by its Specialist Crime Command because of the “complex nature” of the probe, which combines searches with house-to-house inquiries.

Police at the scene near Deal Picture: UKNIP
Police at the scene near Deal Picture: UKNIP

– March 8: Scotland Yard says it remains “open minded as to all possibilities” over Ms Everard’s disappearance, while confirming a missing persons investigation. Specialist officers are drafted in from across the Metropolitan Police force. Police say they have received more than 120 calls from the public on the case, and ask anyone who may have relevant dashcam or other footage to come forward.

– March 9: Police use sniffer dogs to search gardens in streets around the search site near Ms Everard’s envisaged route home and in the nearby Oaklands Estate. Officers also search a pond in Clapham Common and drains along the A205. Police also release fresh images of Ms Everard – wearing the coat in which she disappeared – as they appeal for the public’s help. Later in the day, the Met sets up a cordon around the Poynders Courthousing complex on Poynders Road as part of the search, with forensics officers seen examining the area.

– 11.59pm, March 9: The Met tweets that it has arrested a police officer at an address in Kent in connection with Ms Everard’s disappearance. Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave says the fact the man is a serving police officer “is both shocking and deeply disturbing”. The Met says a woman has also been arrested at the same location on suspicion of assisting an offender. The man and the woman are taken into custody. Detective Chief Inspector Katherine Goodwin says the force is still “doing everything we can to find Sarah”.

- 5.30am, March 10: Police photographed searching in a rural location on the outskirts of Deal.

- 8.30am, March 10: Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave says the officer was not on duty at the time of Sarah's disappearance and confirms both the man and woman remain in custody at a London police station. He says that as a father himself of four young women he can only imagine the anguish Sarah's family is feeling.

- 10am, March 10: Police have erected a tent outside a property in Freemen's Way, Deal, while a large area near the town remains cordoned off with dozens of officers and dog units at the scene. A black SEAT Exeo is lifted off the driveway and taken away for analysis. A second car is also removed. Forensics officers are seen going in and out of the house.

Police put up a tent outside the house in Freemen's Way, Deal
Police put up a tent outside the house in Freemen's Way, Deal

- 10.30am, March 10: The woodland being searched is understood to be near Betteshanger Park. A separate search takes place near Ashford at a paintball site at Great Chart. Dozens of officers scour land around an abandoned Great Chart leisure complex at Bear's Lane, previously home to a paint ball site and golf course.

- 11.30am, March 10: Arrested officer named as Wayne Couzens. He is thought to work in Westminster having previously been employed in the family garage business.

- 1pm, March 10: A barrier is put up around the house in Freemen's Way, Deal, as police continue to investigate. It's thought they are digging up the garden.

- 3pm, March 10: The Met release a statement saying the officer, who is in his 40s, was arrested on suspicion of kidnap. It also reveals he's been further arrested on suspicion of murder and a separate allegation of indecent exposure. He remains in custody. It goes on to say he is a serving Metropolitan Police officer in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command and his primary role was uniformed patrol duties of diplomatic premises. The woman who was arrested, who is in her 30s, remains in custody. Police confirm they have officers searching locations in London and Kent, including a property in Deal and an area of woodland near Ashford. The statement says that, following the arrest of the police officer, the Met has made a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

- 7pm, March 10: It emerges that police have cordoned off Wayne Couzens' former family garage in Central Road, Dover. A police car is parked on the side road and facing the garage and police tape can be seen around it.

- 8.15pm, March 10: Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick confirms what appears to be human remains have been found in woodlandnear Ashford. She adds: "At this early stage we are not able to confirm any identity and indeed, that may take us some considerable time." She describes Sarah's disappearance "in these awful and wicked circumstances" as "every family's worst nightmare". "I know Londoners will want to know that it is thankfully incredibly rare for a woman to be abducted from our streets," she says. "But I completely understand that despite this, women in London and the wider public - particularly those in the area where Sarah went missing - will be worried and may well be feeling scared."

– March 10, pm: Floodlights and welfare units are set up in the car park of the abandoned Great Chart activity centre.

A police car parked outside the garage in Dover
A police car parked outside the garage in Dover

– March 11: Serving officer Wayne Couzens remains in custody as detectives continue to piece together what happened. His home in Deal is still fenced off and guarded by Met officers.

– March 11, am: Police divers arrive to join the search of the woodland area near Ashford.

– March 11, 10am: Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is 'shocked and deeply saddened' by the Sarah Everard investigation. "We must work fast to find all the answers to this horrifying crime," he adds.

– March 11, noon: More welfare units arrive in Great Chart on the back of a lorry, suggesting police intend to spend far longer at the site. The first floral tributes to Ms Everard are laid at the abandoned activity centre.

– March 11, 3.10pm: Kent Police says it's supporting the Met with its investigation which will see officers continuing to carry out activities in the east Kent area over the next few days. Assistant Chief Constable Tom Richards from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate says: "We know people will be deeply concerned given the events of the last few days and the circumstances surrounding it, but as you would expect, the Metropolitan Police Service is carrying out an extensive and thorough investigation, and the public will see an increased visibility of officers throughout the area. Our officers will be supporting that presence around the county to listen to any concerns and will do everything we can to support and reassure people."

Police divers arrive at Great Chart on the second day of the search in Kent
Police divers arrive at Great Chart on the second day of the search in Kent

– March 11, 5pm: A police officer being questioned on suspicion of murdering Sarah Everard suffered a head injury while in custody and was taken to hospital.

The Met Police confirmed this afternoon he has now been taken back to custody after being found in his custody cell and rushed to hospital under armed guard.

– March 11, 6.02pm: Officers from the Met Police confirm they have been given more time to question him after getting an extension from magistrates.

A spokesman for the Met Police said: "The man remains in custody at a London police station after an application to extend his detention was granted at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court.

"A woman aged in her 30s, who was arrested at the same time on suspicion of assisting an offender, has been released on bail to return to a police station on a date in mid-April.

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

"Sarah’s family have been informed of these developments. Specialist officers are in place to support them at this incredibly distressing time. Support is also being provided to Sarah’s many friends."

Sarah's family issue a tribute to her at the same time and appeal for information to help solve the crime.

The statement from the family said: “Our beautiful daughter Sarah was taken from us and we are appealing for any information that will help to solve this terrible crime.

“Sarah was bright and beautiful - a wonderful daughter and sister. She was kind and thoughtful, caring and dependable. She always put others first and had the most amazing sense of humour.

“She was strong and principled and a shining example to us all. We are very proud of her and she brought so much joy to our lives."

Sarah Everard went missing in South London
Sarah Everard went missing in South London

– March 11, 7.24pm: The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) confirms it's made made two referrals, one mandatory and one voluntary, to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

These were linked to the conduct of the officer arrested on suspicion of kidnap, murder and indecent exposure.

The IOPC has determined both these matters should be locally investigated by the MPS.

A spokesman added: "We also made a mandatory referral in relation to the actions of police after Sarah was reported missing. We await the IOPC’s assessment.

"A further voluntary referral was made for a conduct matter in relation to the police investigation into the separate allegations of indecent exposure. The IOPC have determined this will be subject to an independent IOPC investigation.

The Metropolitan Police Service has confirmed it's made made two referrals, one mandatory and one voluntary, to the Independent Office for Police Conduct. Stock picture
The Metropolitan Police Service has confirmed it's made made two referrals, one mandatory and one voluntary, to the Independent Office for Police Conduct. Stock picture

"We have made another mandatory referral to the IOPC after the man arrested was taken to a hospital for treatment to a head injury sustained while in custody in a cell alone.

"He was being monitored by CCTV and received immediate first aid. We await the IOPC’s assessment.

We are offering every assistance to the IOPC."

– March 11, 8pm: The IOPC said in a statement tonight that its investigation will look at the actions of the Met after police received a report on February 28 that “a man had exposed himself at a fast food restaurant in South London”.

It added: “Yesterday we determined that two conduct referrals relating to kidnap/murder and indecent exposure allegations against the arrested officer should remain under local investigation by the force.

Police search ground at Bears Lane, Great Chart, Ashford. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Police search ground at Bears Lane, Great Chart, Ashford. Picture: Barry Goodwin

“We are still assessing a mandatory referral in relation to the actions of police after they received a report that Sarah Everard was missing.”

The IOPC said a fifth mandatory referral was received from the Met on Thursday “in relation to police contact with the arrested officer who was treated in hospital after sustaining a head injury while in custody yesterday afternoon”.

“That referral is also being assessed to determine what further action may be required from us,” the watchdog added.

– March 12, am: Forensics officers comb fields behind PC Couzens' home in Deal. At the property in Freemen's Way a second tent is set up in the fenced-off garden.

– March 12, am: Police continue to search the derelict garage in Dover which was run by PC Couzens' family. Military tunnels which the site backs on to are the scene of activity but Kent Fire and Rescue Service insists it was an "unrelated training exercise".

– March 12, 1.45pm: A statement issued by Scotland Yard confirms that human remains found in woodland in Great Chart is the body of Ms Everard. The Met's assistant commissioner Nick Ephgrave said: "On Wednesday evening detectives investigating Sarah's disappearance discovered a body secreted in woodland in Ashford, Kent. I can now confirm this has been formally identified as Sarah. A post-mortem examination is now taking place. Specialist officers are in constant contact with her family and have updated them on this terrible news."

Flowers outside the Great Chart site
Flowers outside the Great Chart site

To get the latest updates in ongoing cases, police appeals and criminals put behind bars, click here

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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