Former Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens could have used the pretense of Britain’s COVID-19 lockdown guidelines to falsely arrest, handcuff, rape, and murder 33-year-old marketing executive Sarah Everard, a sentencing courtroom heard Wednesday. Couzens pleaded responsible to Everard’s brutal rape and homicide and will likely be sentenced this week.
Chief prosecutor Tom Little informed the courtroom that Couzens’ conduct was premeditated after he clocked off his 12-hour shift on the morning of March 4. He rented a white Vauxhall Astra automobile after which, hours earlier than patrolling for a sufferer, he went to a close-by Tesco grocery retailer and purchased a pack of 14 ponytail holders and adhesive tape.
“This can be a important buy, and a part of the defendant’s plans,” Little informed the sentencing courtroom Wednesday morning.
Couzens, a married diplomatic-protection officer, then discovered Everard, who Little reiterated was “simply strolling house” alone that night. Little stated the 2 didn’t know one another beforehand. He stated Couzens stopped Everard after she had been at a good friend’s home for dinner through the top of the 2021 COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in England.
Realizing she could have skirted lockdown guidelines, she doubtless agreed to get into Couzens’ automobile after he confirmed her his badge or recognized himself as a cop, Little stated. Surveillance cameras on two passing buses and a witness account say Couzens handcuffed her and put her at the back of his automobile.
A feminine witness who noticed Couzens detain Everard informed Little that she was compliant “along with her head down and didn’t seem like arguing.” Little then informed the sentencing courtroom that the lady “believed she was witnessing an undercover police officer arresting a lady whom she assumed will need to have achieved one thing mistaken,” however in actuality, Little stated: “They had been actually witnessing the kidnapping of Sarah Everard.”
The prosecutor went on: “She was detained by fraud. The defendant utilizing his warrant card and handcuffs in addition to his different police-issue gear to impact a false arrest.”
He then drove her some 80 miles to a forested space close to property he owned together with his spouse the place he strangled, raped, and killed Everard, earlier than placing her physique in a big inexperienced rubbish bag and dumping it right into a stream.
Everard had talked to her boyfriend on the telephone for 14 minutes earlier than Couzens stopped her and was speculated to textual content her good friend that she made it house safely. When she did not textual content or reply to calls, the good friend and her boyfriend looked for her at house earlier than reporting her lacking. A manhunt ensued and her physique was discovered six days after she disappeared.
In the course of the manhunt, police had been capable of establish Couzens because the final individual to see her. When questioned, he made up a fantastic story, telling detectives—his colleagues—that he had hit onerous instances and owed a gang of Japanese Europeans cash or “a lady” after he had underpaid a prostitute they had been pimping. He admitted to taking Everard however stated he handed her over to a few males in a van and had no thought what occurred subsequent.
However detectives discovered a damaged piece of the SIM card from Everard’s telephone embedded within the rental-car carpet and decided from his personal cellphone information that he had been current along with her within the forest. His perplexed spouse informed investigators that he was not a violent man and that he acted “completely regular” within the days after the heinous crime.
He didn’t cooperate with the investigation however pleaded responsible to the costs, which carry a most sentence of life in jail, which within the U.Ok. may nonetheless imply he’s eligible for parole until the courtroom guidelines he should spend the remainder of his life in jail. The sentence is predicted Thursday.
Everard’s homicide sparked nationwide demonstrations about police brutality and a rise in violence and harassment towards ladies within the U.Ok.—particularly towards ladies strolling alone.