Chris Lieberman, FISM News
A police officer in London was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday for the kidnapping, rape, and murder of Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive.
According to prosecutors, Metropolitan police officer Wayne Couzens used his police ID and handcuffs to trick Everard into getting in a rental car on the pretense that she had violated COVID-19 regulations on the night of March 3 in London. He then took her outside the capital, where he raped her and strangled her with his police belt. Her body was found over 50 miles away in southeast England days later.
At Couzens’ sentencing, Lord Justice Adrian Fulford described the case as, “devastating, tragic, and wholly brutal.” Fulford told Couzens, “You have irretrievably damaged the lives of Sarah Everard’s family and friends … you have eroded the confidence that the public are entitled to have in the police forces.”
Fulford then issued a life sentence to Couzens, saying, “Notwithstanding your guilty pleas, therefore, I have seen no evidence of genuine contrition on your part, as opposed to evident self-pity and attempts by you to avoid or minimize the proper consequences of what you have done.”
The life sentence offers no chance of parole for Couzens. While life sentences are mandatory for murder cases in the UK, whole-life terms without the possibility of early release are rare and reserved for serious crimes.
After Couzens was sentenced, Everard’s family said, “Nothing can make things better, nothing can bring Sarah back, but knowing he will be imprisoned forever brings some relief. Sarah lost her life needlessly and cruelly and all the years of life she had yet to enjoy were stolen from her. Wayne Couzens held a position of trust as a police officer and we are outraged and sickened that he abused this trust in order to lure Sarah to her death. The world is a safer place with him imprisoned.”
The case has brought London’s Metropolitan Police under fire, with many questioning if officers like Couzens are being properly vetted. After Couzens’ arrest, it was discovered that he had been accused of indecent exposure multiple times prior to murdering Everard. Police watchdogs are now looking into the police’s failure to investigate these allegations.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick spoke to the press outside the court after the sentencing, saying, “I absolutely know that there are those who feel their trust in us is shaken. I recognize that for some people a precious bond of trust has been damaged. Our dedication to you, our public, remains undiminished. As commissioner, I will do everything in my power to ensure we learn any lessons.” Dick then left as reporters began asking her if she should resign.
Everard’s murder has also brought awareness to the issue of women’s public safety in Britain and has launched a national conversation on how and when to get involved when someone is being harassed on the street.