Police have launched a fresh probe around Wayne Couzens – what’s it all about?

Police have launched a fresh probe around Wayne Couzens – what’s it all about?

The Metropolitan Police are investigating whether Wayne Couzens committed more crimes before he kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard.

Couzens was yesterday sentenced for his heinous crimes against Everard and handed a whole-life order, meaning he will likely die in prison.

Lord Justice Fulford said his “warped, selfish and brutal” offences had eroded confidence in the police and Everard’s family also read moving statements to the court explaining how his actions had affected them.

Police are now investigating whether Couzens committed more crimes before Everard’s murder and have urged the public and members of the police force to come forward with any information.

What does the new probe around Couzens involve?

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave urged people to come forward if they have any information about Couzens’ behaviour.

He added: “We ask anyone in the service or any member of the public that might have any information about Couzens’ behaviour – either as an officer or member of the public – that might be relevant, please come forward.”

DCI Katherine Goodwin also said in a briefing after the life sentence handed down that she was not aware of any more serious allegations but said inquiries are ongoing into whether Couzens is responsible for any other crimes.

“Thus far there is nothing of the nature or seriousness of the offences for which he has been put in prison today,” she said.

“I would like to reiterate, appeal if anyone has any information or any allegations about Wayne Couzens that they would come and speak to our team.”

Meanwhile, the Independent Office for Police Conduct is investigating the conduct of five officers over allegations they sent discriminatory messages over WhatsApp. The Times reported the officers are alleged to have shared misogynistic, racist and homophobic material with Couzens months before he killed Everard.

What crimes were linked to Couzens in the past?

Couzens was subject to three allegations of indecent exposure before the murder.

He was accused of indecent exposure in 2015 when a driver in Dover reported seeing a man driving naked from the waist down. No further action was taken.

He was then accused of exposing himself in a south London McDonald’s two weeks before the murder. Another alleged incident took place at a McDonald’s in Swanley, Kent, just 72 hours before Everard was abducted in March 2020.

His plea hearing at the Old Bailey in July also heard that he was involved in an “incident” of a sexual nature in 2002.

How was this dealt with at the time?

A senior officer has admitted a vetting check on the former police officer was not done “correctly” when Couzens joined the Met in 2018 and that the vetting didn’t flag up that a vehicle associated with Couzens had been identified in the 2015 indecent exposure investigation.

Ephgrave said that, even if it had come up in the vetting process, it would not have changed the outcome because the investigation resulted in no further action and Couzens was never named as a suspect.

At a briefing at Scotland Yard following the sentencing, Ephgrave also told reporters Couzens was not named in the Swanley incident but his car was reported to officers, who were said to have not yet completed the investigation.

Ephgrave also said the Met had been referred to the police watchdog over the Swanley incident and a file sent to the Crown Prosecution Service in relation to the alleged crime itself.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is still investigating the potential failure of the Met and Kent Police to properly investigate those allegations.

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