Sarah Everard murderer Wayne Couzens seeks to appeal whole-life sentence

Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 8:22 am
Sarah Everard: Met Police officer murderer Wayne Couzens seeks to appeal whole-life sentence (Met Police)

The former Met officer who kidnapped and murdered Sarah Everard, 33, has lodged an appeal against his whole-life term sentence.

Wayne Couzens, 48, used Covid powers to falsely arrest Everard as she walked home in March 2020.

'Guilty'

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Couzens has lodged an appeal to try and overturn his whole-life sentence, a court official confirmed on Tuesday.

Couzens was sentenced to a real whole-life sentence on 30 September, having first pleaded guilty to kidnap and rape in June, then later confessing to murder.

If permission is granted for an appeal, it will be heard by the Court of Appeal Criminal Division.

Lord Justice Fulford, who handed Couzens the sentence at the Old Bailey, said that by misusing his role as a police officer to carry out his crimes, they were “of equal seriousness as a murder carried out for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause”.

Couzens is one of over 60 criminals to be sentenced to a whole-life term, including Lee Rigby’s murderer, the Moors murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, and the serial killer Levi Bellfield, the only person to be given two whole-life sentences.

'Shocked'

A court official said on Tuesday: "We have been notified that an appeal has been lodged by Mr Couzens."

Sentencing Couzens, Lord Justice Fulford said: "You have eroded the confidence that the public are entitled to have in the police forces of England and Wales."

Speaking to the Mirror, Labour MP Jess Phillips said: "I'm shocked by what appears as a continued inability of Couzens to understand the severity of his actions or the pain that such an appeal will cause to the Everard family.”

"His crimes have had deep repercussions for our country and whilst nothing can undo that harm his sentence reflects that.”

What happened to Sarah Everard?

Scotland Yard launched an urgent inquiry after Ms Everard was reported missing by her boyfriend, Josh Lowth, on 4 March.

At about 9pm on 3 March, Ms Everard had set off on foot for the two-and-a-half mile journey home, from a friend’s house chatting with her boyfriend by mobile phone on the way.

A camera attached to a passing marked police car captured her walking alone at 9.32pm.

Just three minutes later, a bus camera appeared to capture the moment she was intercepted by Couzens in Balham, south London.

Couzens used his handcuffs and warrant card to snatch Ms Everard as she walked home.

The sexual predator, who had clocked off from a 12-hour shift that morning, went on to rape and strangle the 33-year-old marketing executive then set fire to her body.

A week after she disappeared, Ms Everard’s remains were found in a woodland stream in Ashford, Kent, just metres from land owned by Couzens.

He has pleaded guilty to Ms Everard’s murder, kidnap and rape and appeared at the Old Bailey on Wednesday for the start of his sentencing.

He sat in the dock with his head bowed as prosecutor Tom Little QC opened the case, watched by Ms Everard’s family.

Mr Little said the disappearance of Ms Everard was one of the most widely publicised missing person investigations the country has ever seen.

After her body was discovered in woodland, it became summarised by the hashtag “she was just walking home”, he said.

But that did not completely describe what happened to Ms Everard, the court heard.

Mr Little said: “Whilst it is impossible to summarise what the defendant did to Sarah Everard in just five words, if it had to be done then it would be more appropriate to do so as deception, kidnap, rape, strangulation, fire.”

Couzens had worked on Covid patrols in late January this year, enforcing coronavirus regulations, so would have known what language to use to those who may have breached them.

He was said to be wearing his police belt with handcuffs and a rectangular black pouch, similar to a pepper spray holder, when he kidnapped Ms Everard.

Ms Everard was described by a former long-term boyfriend as “extremely intelligent, savvy and streetwise” and “not a gullible person”, the court heard.

He said he could not envisage her getting into a car with someone she did not know “unless by force or manipulation”, said the prosecutor.

Mr Little added: “The fact she had been to a friend’s house for dinner at the height of the early 2021 lockdown made her more vulnerable to and more likely to submit to an accusation that she had acted in breach of the Covid regulations in some way.”

A version of this article originally appeared on NationalWorld.com