Wayne Couzens has today received a whole-life sentence for the “grotesque” kidnap, rape and murder of 33-year-old marketing executive Sarah Everard.
The whole-life sentence means he is expected to die behind bars.
Harrowing CCTV footage released yesterday showed the then serving police officer luring Everard into his rented car after “arresting” her for a fake Covid breach in Clapham, south London, on March 3.
The sentencing hearing, which began yesterday, heard that Couzens then drove her to woodlands in Kent where she was raped and strangled to death with Couzens’ police belt, before her body was burned several days later. After her body was discovered, it led to an international outpouring of grief and calls for change.
The court heard how, after the killing, Couzens bought himself a hot chocolate and a bakewell tart from Costa. He also made a bizarre phone call to a vet and allowed his children to play close to where Ms Everard’s body was discovered.
And, before committing the atrocious crimes on Ms Everard, he was accused of indecent exposure, including in the days before she was killed.
Here is a chilling timeline of some of the heinous behaviour Couzens demonstrated before murdering Everard, stretching as far back as 2002, and how he acted after committing the murder.
There are several details to follow which readers may find distressing.
–2002: Couzens joined the Kent Special Constabulary. He also served in the in the 3rd battalion of the Army Reserves for two years from 2002.
According to the i, the sentencing hearing yesterday heard that Couzens’ colleagues were aware that he was “attracted to violent sexual pornography” and that an “incident” was reported in 2002.
–March 2011: Wayne Couzens joins the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC). While working at the CNC, it’s been reported that his colleagues nicknamed him “The Rapist” as he made his female colleagues feel uncomfortable.
– June 2015: Kent Police allegedly fail to investigate an indecent exposure incident linked to Couzens. According to The Guardian, the incident involved reports of a man being naked from the waist down in a car in Dover. This is now being looked into by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
– February 2021: The 48-year-old is linked to two allegations of indecent exposure at a McDonald’s in London, which it is claimed Scotland Yard failed to investigate.
– 28 February 2021: Couzens books a white Vauxhall Astra from a car hire firm in Dover, Kent, using his personal details and bank card. He also purchases a roll of self-adhesive film advertised as a carpet protector on Amazon.
– March 2:7pm – Couzens starts a 12-hour shift at his base in West Brompton, west London.
– March 3. On the day Everard is taken, Couzens collects the hire car at 4.45pm.
8pm - Couzens was spotted buying a pack of 14 hair bands at the Tesco Superstore in Kensington.
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. Couzens is thought to have been wearing his police belt with handcuffs and a rectangular black pouch, similar to a pepper spray holder, when he kidnapped Everard.
CCTV footage showed Couzens showing his warrant card before handcuffing Everard and putting her in the back of the car. A passing couple witnessed the kidnapping but mistook it for an arrest by an undercover officer.
– March 4: 1am – Having travelled out of London, the car is in the Tilmanstone area of Kent.
2:30am: Although Everard’s time of death could not be pinpointed to an exact time, Tom Little QC said that she must have been dead at around 2:30am when Couzens pulled into a Dover service station and bought drinks.
8:15am - Couzens was captured on CCTV in a Costa Coffee shop in Dover buying a hot chocolate and bakewell tart. He went on to return the Vauxhall hire car, having driven just over 300 miles.
Later that morning, Couzens throws Ms Everard’s mobile phone into a channel at Sandwich, only for it to be retrieved by a diver as part of a search of the waterway.
-March 5: Couzens, who is due to be off until March 8, reports to work that he is suffering with stress.
Couzens buys petrol which he uses to burn Ms Everard’s body in the woods, the court heard. On the same day, a driver glimpsed a large orange and yellow flame in the woods with a white object next to it. The driver’s account was consistent with where Couzens burnt Everard’s body and possessions in a fridge.
Afternoon: Couzens made a bizarre phone call to a vet about his dog Maddy’s “separation anxiety”. In the call played in court, he said he wanted to see the vet to discuss her “issues”.
During the same afternoon, Couzens bought builders bags which he used to move Ms Everard’s heavily burnt remains to the pond where she was eventually found.
-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 took his wife and children on a family trip to Hoads Wood, close to where Everard’s body was discovered. He allowed his children to play in relatively close proximity to 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.
In a brief interview, Couzens concocted a story about being threatened by a gang when he was arrested at his Deal home.
– 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. On the same day he was taken to hospital after he collapsed in his cell at Wandsworth police station after suffering “serious head wounds”, The Sun reported.
He was charged on March 12 and pleaded guilty to the kidnap and rape on June 8. He also accepted responsibility for the killing, but was not asked to enter a plea to a charge of murder.
On July 9, Couzens pleads guilty to murder and he was later sentenced.
For reaction to his sentence, you can click here.
Additional reporting by PA.
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