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Calls for investigation into how Sarah Everard’s killer stayed a police officer after indecent exposure incidents

Written by on 10/07/2021

Police are under pressure to investigate how Sarah Everard’s killer was allowed to remain an officer despite three allegations of indecent exposure against him.

Wayne Couzens, 48, pleaded guilty to murdering Ms Everard, 33, at the Old Bailey on Friday.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) later revealed that 12 Metropolitan Police officers are under investigation in relation to the Everard Case.

But the Met and Kent Police are under increasing pressure to reveal how Couzens, who had previously admitted to kidnap and rape, was not probed further over three separate indecent exposure complaints that date back 2015.

The IOPC is investigating the Kent force over the 2015 incident, while two officers are being probed over two similar incidents in London in February this year.

Wayne Couzens
Image: Couzens has pleaded guilty to murder, rape and kidnap

Ms Everard, whose death has sparked widescale protests about women’s safety, was abducted as she walked home through the south of the capital on the night of 3 March.

Her body was found near some land Couzens owned in Kent a week later

More on Kent

Harriet Wistrich, director of the Centre for Women’s Justice, wants a full public inquiry into “police failures and misconduct” around the Ms Everard case.

“As protesters made clear, women do not feel safe and it is incumbent on the government and all criminal justice agencies to now take action over the epidemic of male violence which is the other public health crisis of our day,” she said.

Sarah Everard
Image: Ms Everard, 33, was walking home when she was abducted

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas Symonds is also urging the Met to review its vetting process.

The Labour MP said: “It is absolutely vital that everything possible is done to ensure this can never happen again.

“The Metropolitan Police and wider policing must look at vetting processes and their own safeguarding systems to ensure people who pose a threat to the public are not able to hold such vital positions of trust.”

Met Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said she felt “sickened, angered and betrayed” following Couzens’s pleas and apologised to the Everard family.

Sir Stephen House said officers at Clapham Common "thought they were doing the right thing"
Image: Met Police officers are pictured at a vigil to Sarah Everard in south London

The 12 Met officers served with misconduct notices include one who was still on probation and shared an inappropriate graphic relating to the case with officers over social media before manning the cordon at the scene of the search.

Couzens is due to be sentenced following a two-day hearing beginning on 29 September.

 Sky News

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