October 19, 2021

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How Sarah Everard’s ‘sickening’ murder unfolded

Former Metropolitan Pc Wayne Couzens is being sentenced for the murder of Sarah Everard.

Ms Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive from Surrey, was abducted by the then-serving police officer on March 3 while walking home from a friend’s house in South London.

Couzens, who had performed Covid patrols as a Pc, is believed to have used his warrant card to falsely arrest her.

Her body was later discovered on March 10 near Couzens’ home in Kent. Couzens later admitted guilt for her murder, rape, and kidnap.

As Couzens prepares to find out whether he will face life behind bars, here is how the shocking incident played out:

– 2015: Wayne Couzens is accused of indecent exposure by a woman while serving as an officer in the Civil Nuclear Constabulary. However, it is alleged that Kent Police failed to investigate the incident. In the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launch a probe into whether the allegation of indecent exposure was investigated properly.

– September 2018: Couzens transfers to the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC).

– 2019: Couzens and his wife buy a small area of woodland off Fridd Lane in Ashford, Kent.

– February 2019: The Pc joins a response team covering the Bromley area of south London, having initially served in a Safer Neighbourhood Team.

– February 2020: Couzens moves to the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command to patrol diplomatic premises, mainly embassies.

– February 2021: The 48-year-old is linked to two allegations of indecent exposure in London, which it is claimed Scotland Yard failed to investigate. Two police officers are currently being investigated for misconduct due to the alleged incident.

– February 28: Couzens books a white Vauxhall Astra from a car hire firm in Dover, Kent, using his personal details and bank card.

Watch: Cressida Dick says Met are ‘sickened’ by Couzens’ crimes

He also purchases a roll of self-adhesive film advertised as a carpet protector on Amazon.

– March 2: 7pm – Couzens starts a 12-hour overnight shift at the American Embassy, south-west London.

– During the shift, Couzens had talked about leaving the Met over a pay dispute and said he might go off sick with stress.

– Couzens was in debt to the tune of £29,000, using short-term payday loans, and was in a dispute with the Met over his pay scale.

– March 3: On the day of her disappearance, Sarah Everard visits a friend in the Clapham Junction area and uses her bank card to buy a bottle of wine in Sainsbury’s in Brixton Hill, south London, on her way.

4.45pm – Couzens collects the hire car.

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9pm – Ms Everard leaves to walk home, some 2.5 miles away.

9.13pm – She calls her boyfriend for a little over 14 minutes.

9.15pm – Ms Everard is captured alone on CCTV at the junction of Bowood Road and the South Circular.

9.28pm – The next sighting is on Cavendish Road and she is still alone.

9.32pm – Ms Everard is caught on the camera on a marked police car.

9.34pm – Couzens handcuffs Ms Everard using handcuffs he purchased on Amazon.

9.35pm – A bus camera captures two figures on Poynders Road standing beside a white Vauxhall Astra parked on the pavement with hazard lights flashing.

9.36pm – Couzens puts Ms Everard into the back of his car.

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9.38pm – Another bus camera captures the same vehicle with the two front car doors open.

11.30pm – Couzens transfers Ms Everard from a hire car to his own vehicle.

– March 4: 1am – Having travelled out of London, the car is in the Tilmanstone area of Kent.

2.31am – Couzens is believed to have murdered Ms Everard around this time.

8.30am – The killer returns the hire car used in the abduction.

8.10pm – Ms Everard is reported missing by her boyfriend, Josh Lowth.

People in the crowd turn on their phone torches as they gather in Clapham Common, London, at the vigil for Sarah Everard

People in the crowd turn on their phone torches as they gather in Clapham Common, London, at the vigil for Sarah Everard

– March 5: The case is escalated and the Specialist Crime Unit becomes involved.

– Couzens, who is due to be off until March 8, reports to work that he is suffering with stress.

– He burns her body at around 12.45pm in Hoad’s Wood, Kent. A witness sees the flames.

2pm – He buys two green rubble bags for £9.94 at B&Q in Dover.

– March 6: Couzens emails his supervisor that he no longer wants to carry a firearm.

He orders a tarpaulin and a bungee cargo net on Amazon which are shipped to him the next day.

– March 7, Couzens takes his wife and two children on a family trip to the woods where only days before he had burned Ms Everard’s body.

– En route, he withdrew cash from the same service station he had been to shortly after raping and murdering his victim.

– Couzens allowed his children to play near where Ms Everard’s body had been dumped in the pond.

– March 8: The officer reports in sick on the day he is due to return to work.

– March 9: 7.11pm – Couzens’ phone is wiped of all data.

7.50pm – Couzens is arrested at his home in Deal, Kent.

Wayne Couzens, making his first appearance at the Old Bailey by video link from Belmarsh top security jail in south London

Wayne Couzens, making his first appearance at the Old Bailey by video link from Belmarsh top security jail in south London

Jeremy Everard (left), the father of Sarah Everard, outside the Old Bailey, central London, with other family members

Jeremy Everard (left), the father of Sarah Everard, outside the Old Bailey, central London, with other family members

– In a brief interview, he tells a story about being threatened by an Eastern European gang.

– March 10: At around 4.45pm, a body is discovered in a wooded area in Ashford, Kent, and later formally identified by dental records. It is around 100 metres from land owned by Couzens.

– March 11: Couzens answers “no comment” in formal interviews.

– March 12: 8.45pm: Couzens is charged.

– March 13: Police clash with mourners at a vigil for Ms Everard on Clapham Common. The force had banned the vigil on the grounds that it broke coronavirus regulations. However, hundreds of women pay their respects regardless. Several mourners are arrested by police.

– July 9: Couzens pleads guilty to murder when he appears at the Old Bailey by video link from Belmarsh high security jail.

– September 29: Couzens faces a possible whole life order when he is sentenced.

– It emerges during his sentencing that Couzens was wearing a police belt with handcuffs during his abduction of Sarah Everard. 

– The killer is believed to have used his warrant card to detain Ms Everard “by fraud” before handcuffing her in a “false arrest”.

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