Former police officer Wayne Couzens will die in prison after being sentenced to a rare whole-life term. He was found guilty of the abduction, rape and murder of Sarah Everard as she walked home in south London on March 3.
The sentence was handed down to the former Metropolitan Police officer on Thursday by Lord Justice Adrian Fulford, who said Couzens that night had gone out “hunting a lone female to kidnap and rape.”
The 48-year-old was convicted of the brutal abduction, rape and murder of the 33 year-old marketing manager as she walked home from her friend’s house in Clapham, south London.
BREAKING Wayne Couzens sentenced to a rare, whole life order at the Old Bailey. He will never be released for the murder of Sarah Everard. He is the first police officer to receive this sentence
— Fiona Hamilton (@Fhamiltontimes) September 30, 2021
Couzens used his police ID to falsely detain Everard, handcuffing her before putting her in the back of his hire car and driving away. The firearms officer drove Everard to a secluded place near Dover, in Kent. He proceeded to rape her before killing her.
Lord Justice Fulford said Everard was a “wholly blameless victim of a grotesquely executed” crime. He said Couzens offered no explanation for the murder and added that he had “no doubt Couzens used his position as a police officer to coerce her into car.”
Prior to the sentencing, Fulford said the evidence gathered against Couzens was “unanswerable” and there was “no credible innocent explanation” for his actions.
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UK cop convicted of raping and murdering Sarah Everard used Covid-19 rules for abduction and tried to blame Eastern European gang
Earlier this week, police interview footage showed Couzens trying to blame his crimes on an Eastern European gang, saying they forced him to “pick up” and deliver young women to them.
Defence barrister Jim Sturman said that his client was filled with “self-loathing” and argued against the whole-life term on the grounds that Couzens had pleaded guilty, had underlying depression and had no previous violent convictions.
Whole life sentences are very rare. In September 2019, there were only 63 prisoners serving whole life sentences in England and Wales. By comparison, it is understood that around 300 people each year are given a life sentence, in which the prisoner can be released after 25 years if deemed no longer a threat to society.
Everard’s murder triggered demonstrations in Britain with protesters, mainly women, calling for changes to help keep women safe on the streets of London. Some demonstrators clashed with police at a vigil held for the marketing manager, where authorities had not given permission for the event to take place due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Later, an all-party UK parliamentary inquiry accused police forces involved in handling the event of “multiple failings” in managing the protest.
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