Wayne Couzens, 48, of Deal, Kent, England used his power as a serving Metropolitan Police Service officer to prey on Sarah Everard, 33, of London, England. Coming from a friend’s house in Clapham, London, she was walking home on March 3, 2021 when she was kidnapped, raped and murdered.
Couzens is the husband of Elena Sukhoreba Couzens, 38, a scientist who is originally from Ukraine. Everard is the daughter of Jeremy Everard, a professor of electronics at York University, and Susan “Sue” Everard, a charity worker.
On June 8, 2021, Wayne appeared in court via video link from Her Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh in Thamesmead, London and pleaded guilty to kidnapping and raping Sarah. On July 9, 2021, he pleaded guilty to murdering her.
When Wayne’s two-day sentencing started on September 29, 2021, it was revealed that he staged a false arrest of Sarah on March 3, 2021 amid the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The court learned that he used his police warrant card and handcuffed her in the backseat of his car before strangling her with his police belt.
According to Tom Little, Sarah was detained by fraud. She was the victim of deception, kidnap, rape, strangulation and fire, he added.
Wayne left Sarah’s lifeless body at the crime scene and days later, he returned there and burned her body, clothes and possessions. When he was arrested at his home in Deal on March 9, 2021, he lied to the arresting officers by telling them he was forced to kidnap her and hand her over to gang members, who were threatening him.
Sarah’s family attended the hearing and gave statements. Her father asked for her picture to be displayed in the courtroom.
“Sarah was handcuffed and unable to defend herself,” Jeremy said. “This preys on my mind all the time.”
Both Jeremy and Sarah’s sister Katie Everard asked Wayne to look at them as they addressed the former Met Police officer directly. While Wayne lifted his head slightly, he did not look at Jeremy and Katie.
Sue was also emotional during the sentencing. She said Wayne had treated Sarah as if Sarah was “nothing and disposed of her as if she was rubbish.”
“I go through the terrible sequence of events,” Sue said. “I wonder when she realized she was in mortal danger.”
It was the first time the full details of Sarah’s final days in Wayne’s hands were revealed. On September 30, 2021, Lord Justice Fulford will decide on the minimum length of Wayne’s life sentence.