A British police officer on Friday pleaded guilty to murdering a 33-year-old woman who was abducted while walking home from a friend’s house in south London.
Wayne Couzens admitted earlier kidnapping and rape of Sarah Everard, a marketing director who was missing on March 3rd. Couzens filed a guilty plea of murder during a hearing in London’s central criminal court, which appeared at video link from Belmarsh’s high security prison.
A major police investigation was launched after Everhard’s disappearance. Her body was found a week later in a forest more than 80 km southeast of London.
SARAH EVERARD MURDER CASE: UK POLICE OFFICER PLEADS GUILTY TO RAPE, KIDNAP
The search for Everard and news of her killings caused a nationwide uprising in which women shared experiences of being threatened, attacked or simply faced with the daily fear of violence when walking alone.
Police in the British capital came in for criticism after some women who participated in a guard for Everard were detained for violating coronavirus restrictions.
Couzens, 48, joined London’s Metropolitan Police in 2018 and had most recently served in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, an armed unit responsible for protecting embassies in the capital and parliament.
Prosecutor Tom Little said Couzens abducted Everard, a complete stranger, in a rented car hours after he finished a 12-hour police job. Her body was found in the woods near a piece of land owned by Couzens. Despite his guilty plea, prosecutors said Couzens has not revealed where he raped and killed Everard.
“We still do not know what led him to commit this heinous crime against a stranger,” said Carolyn Oakley of the Crown Prosecution Service. “Today is not the day to hear the facts about what happened to Sarah. Today is a day to remember Sarah and our thoughts remain with her family and friends.”
Couzens is due to be sentenced during a two-day hearing starting Sept. 29.
The police force has expressed shock and horror over his crime, but is facing an investigation by the police watchdog into how it handled an accusation of indecent exposure to Couzen’s days before Everard was abducted.
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Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said she had told Everard’s family “how sorry I am for their loss, for their pain and their suffering.”
“We all in the Met are sick, angry and devastated by this man’s really horrible crimes,” she said. “Everyone in the police feels betrayed.”