Published: 10:55, 18 March 2021
| Updated: 14:12, 18 March 2021
A book of condolences to the family of Sarah Everard has been opened at a church as the murder inquiry continues in Sandwich.
The gesture was started by volunteers at St Peter's Church in Market Street so well-wishers can leave a message to the family of the 33-year-old marketing assistant.
Last Wednesday a serving armed officer for the Metropolitan Police was arrested at his home in Deal for kidnapping and murdering Sarah, who went missing in Clapham on Wednesday, March 3.
He has since been charged and a trial is due to start in October.
A search started at the home of Wayne Couzens, 48, of Freemens Way, and two vehicles and a motorbike were seized.
An even larger search that day sadly uncovered Sarah's remains in a wooded area at a defunct leisure centre and golf course in Great Chart near Ashford.
On Thursday officers began scouring his family's former garage BCB in Centre Road, Dover. And on Sunday officers started a lengthy search of the Ropewalk and the adjacent waterway in Sandwich along with the carparks of Guildhall and Co-operative. Bins and drains have all been emptied in the search for clues.
The police activity, linking the suspected killing of Sarah to the town, has led to an outpouring of sadness for her family in Sandwich, according to Annemarie Huigen, a volunteer at St Peter's.
She said: "People have got in touch with me asking if they can leave flowers by the War Memorial. Because of social distancing, I didn't think it was a good idea to have a sea of flowers there so I thought the most sensible thing was to have a book of condolences.
"I thought this was the best option because of safety issues in Market Street and because I didn't want there to be a focus around the church because it encourages people to gather."
The book was opened in the church porch today and people can sign it, adhering to social distancing rules, from 9am to 1pm each day until next Friday, March 26.
It is accompanied by a picture of Sarah, and a vase of flowers. Sanitising solution is available for Covid safety.
The book will be given to Sarah's family by an employee of the Met police in due course.
Today an inquest opened and was adjourned until after trial, expected to take place in October. Sarah's body has been released to her family.
They started this yesterday and a new search area was opened at The Butts in Sandwich.