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Friday, March 12, 2021

Armed police officer arrested over kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard

Armed police officer arrested over kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard








Armed police officer arrested over the alleged kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard is in custody after he was found unconscious with 'serious self-inflicted head injuries in his cell it emerged last night.

Also, police revealed a separate indecent exposure allegation he faces took place three days before her disappearance.

Wayne Couzens, 48, was arrested late on Tuesday on suspicion of the kidnap and murder of marketing executive Miss Everard, 33, and indecently exposing himself to woman working at a south London takeaway restaurant.

Metropolitan Police tonight confirmed an investigation has been launched into whether officers responded 'appropriately' to the indecent exposure report, which was received by Scotland Yard on February 28 - three days before Sarah vanished while walking home in Clapham.

Sources told The Daily Mail the allegation may not have reached 'command level,' so colleagues were unlikely to be aware of it, meaning he was able to continue working as an armed officer right up until his arrest.

Sources said the officer had been behaving erratically and had spent a considerable period of time off sick for an unknown issue.

Couzens, 48, was found unconscious in Wandsworth police station on Wednesday.

He was rushed to hospital under armed guard after being given first aid inside the station.

Couzens is understood by MailOnline to have been taken to A&E at nearby St George's Hospital in Tooting before being returned to custody after treatment.

 


He has been returned to custody, and while police have refused to comment on whether or not the injuries were self-inflicted, Met sources said no arrests were expected to be made.

The incident has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

The IOPC has upheld a separate referral relating to the Met's handling of an allegation of indecent exposure, which Couzens was also arrested over.

Met Police confirmed it had referred itself to the IOPC in relation to the injuries suffered by the suspect, as well as the conduct of two officers relating its investigation into alleged indecent exposure.

A statement released by Scotland Yard read: 'Following the arrest of a police officer, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) made two referrals, one mandatory and one voluntary, to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

'These were linked to the conduct of the officer arrested on suspicion of kidnap, murder and indecent exposure.

'The IOPC has determined both these matters should be locally investigated by the MPS.

'We also made a mandatory referral in relation to the actions of police after Sarah was reported missing. We await the IOPC’s assessment.

'A further voluntary referral was made for a conduct matter in relation to the police investigation into the separate allegations of indecent exposure.

The IOPC have determined this will be subject to an independent IOPC investigation.

'We have made another mandatory referral to the IOPC after the man arrested was taken to a hospital for treatment to a head injury sustained while in custody in a cell alone.

He was being monitored by CCTV and received immediate first aid. 

We await the IOPC’s assessment.'

News of the watchdog's investigation came after Miss Everard's family shared a moving tribute to the marketing executive.

Father Jeremy, 67, a professor of electronics at the University of York, and her mother Susan, 63, said: 'Our beautiful daughter Sarah was taken from us and we are appealing for any information that will help to solve this terrible crime.

 



'Sarah was bright and beautiful - a wonderful daughter and sister. She was kind and thoughtful, caring and dependable.

She always put others first and had the most amazing sense of humour.

'She was strong and principled and a shining example to us all. We are very proud of her and she brought so much joy to our lives.

'We would like to thank our friends and family for all their support during this awful time and we would especially like to thank Sarah's friends who are working tirelessly to help.

'We are so grateful to the police and would like to thank them for all they are doing. We are now pleading for additional help from the public.

'Please come forward and speak to the police if you have any information. No piece of information is too insignificant.

Thank you.'

Its understood human remains found in Ashford, Kent on Wednesday may need to be identified using dental records, which could take weeks.

On Thursday Met Police confirmed a woman aged in her 30s, who was on suspicion of assisting an offender, has been released on bail to return to a police station on a date in mid-April.

Today it was claimed that Couzens worked a 2pm to 8pm shift at the US embassy on the day his alleged victim vanished 'into thin air.

The building he was guarding is less than three miles from where Miss Everard was last seen at 9.30pm as she walked home to Brixton on March 3.

 


The US Embassy has refused to comment on the claim, telling MailOnline: 'We were shocked and saddened to hear the news of Sarah Everard's disappearance.

Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this difficult time.'



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