PC Wayne Couzens, 48, pleads guilty to kidnap and rape of Sarah Everard and ‘accepts responsibility for her killing’ – as victim’s family sit in court to hear serving Met officer’s admissions
- Marketing executive went missing as she walked home in London on March 3
- Police investigation launched and body found a week later in woodland in Kent
- Serving Met Police officer Wayne Couzens charged with her kidnap and murder
Guilty: Charges PC Wayne Couzens has admitted in court
– Kidnapping of Sarah Everard ‘unlawfully and by force or fraud’ on March 3.
– Rape between March 2 and 10.
PC Wayne Couzens, 48, has pleaded guilty to the kidnap and rape of Sarah Everard and ‘takes responsibility for her death’ her family has heard this morning.
The Old Bailey hearing, attended by his victim’s relatives, did not ask him to enter a plea to a charge of murder.
Last week a post-mortem found Sarah died from compression of the neck.
The 33-year-old marketing executive went missing as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham, South London, on March 3.
A major Metropolitan Police investigation was launched and her body was found a week later in woodland in Kent.
Couzens had not been due before court until next month but appeared this morning at the Old Bailey via videolink.
Jim Sturman QC, his barrister said the serving Met Police officer had not yet entered a plea to the murder charge. Medical reports are still pending on the case.
Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, went missing as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham, South London, on March 3
Serving Met Police officer Wayne Couzens (above), 48, from Deal, Kent, had been charged with the kidnap and murder of Miss Everard.
He said: ‘Responsibility for the killing is also admitted.’
During the videolink Couzens sat with his head bowed, only repeating ‘guilty sir’ when charges were put to him.
Sarah’s family were in court for the 20-minute hearing and saw him make his pleas.
He will return to court next month on July 9 when he is expected to answer the murder charge.
A provisional date for his murder trial is still set for October.
Sarah’s death prompted a vigil in her memory to be held in London near where she vanished
Police officers clash with people as they form a gathering in Clapham Common, South London, after the Reclaim These Streets vigil for Sarah Everard was officially cancelled on March 13
Sarah’s body was found hidden in an area of woodland in Ashford, Kent, inside a large builder’s bag and was formally identified through her dental records.
Her post-mortem was held at William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.
A police spokesman said on June 1: ‘A post-mortem examination into the death of Sarah Everard held at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford has given cause of death as compression of the neck.’
Couzens is a member of the elite Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection squad – a role that entitled him to carry a firearm and a Metropolitan Police warrant card.
Formed in 2015, the unit is responsible for the protection of government owned buildings and embassies as well as ministers and visiting heads of state.
As part of his armed duties protecting MPs and dignitaries, Couzens has provided static security for major public events attended by senior members of the Royal Family.
All police recruits undergo careful vetting to check whether they have a criminal record when they join the force. To be accepted into the elite Westminster armed unit, officers must face rigorous tests and firearms training.
Scotland Yard has referred itself to the police watchdog over the arrest of its own officer and separately over the force’s actions after Miss Everard was reported missing.
It was previously revealed Miss Everard spent a quarter of an hour on the phone making plans to see her boyfriend Josh Lowth the following day, before her mobile was either switched off or ran out of battery.
Mr Lowth, 33, whose LinkedIn says he is Marketing Director at MA Exhibitions, later raised the alarm to police when she failed to meet him as she had arranged, her aunt confirmed.