‘Warped’ cop who killed Sarah Everard, 33, wanted less jail time

·4-min read

Sarah Everard's "warped" killer Wayne Couzens argued he should not have to spend the rest of his life behind bars because he tried to "minimise" the pain suffered by her family after he was arrested.

Couzens, who was a Met Police officer when he murdered Ms Everard, pleaded guilty in July to her kidnapping, rape and murder, and was given a full life order on Thursday (local time) – the first police officer to receive such a sentence.

Whole life orders are the most severe punishment available in the UK criminal justice system for those who commit the most serious crimes and Couzens should now expect to die in prison.

Sarah Everard is pictured left with a court sketch of Wayne Couzens on the right.
Police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, has been handed a whole life order for the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard. Source: PA

During the hearing, Couzens' defence barrister Jim Sturman QC urged the judge to impose a determinate sentence, which would mean he would be eligible for release in his 80s.

"What he has done is terrible. He deserves a very lengthy finite term but he did all he could after he was arrested to minimise the wicked harm that he did," he said.

The barrister told the court Couzens’s guilty pleas had saved the Everards "the terror" of what the verdicts would be.

At another point during the hearing, Couzens refused to look at her distraught family in court before being sentenced because he was "too ashamed".

CCTV shows Metropolitan Police Wayne Couzens talking to Sarah Everard.
Metropolitan Police Wayne Couzens (right) is seen talk to Sarah Everard beside a vehicle outside Poynders Court in Clapham, south London. Source: Metropolitan Police/PA Wire

Ms Everard’s parents and sister asked the former Met Police officer, 48, to look at them as they read their victim impact statements describing the effect his horrific crime had had on them.

"He was invited to look at the Everards. He could not I am told. He is ashamed," Couzens' barrister said.

At his sentencing hearing at the Old Bailey, the court heard Couzens used his Metropolitan Police-issue warrant card and handcuffs to snatch Ms Everard, 33, in a fake arrest as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham, south London, on the evening of March 3.

He then drove her to a secluded area near Dover in Kent where he parked up and raped the marketing executive before burning her body in a refrigerator in an area of woodland he owned in Hoads Wood, near Ashford, before dumping the remains in a nearby pond.

Patsy Stevenson lays a candle at Clapham Common, London.
Patsy Stevenson lays a candle at Clapham Common, London, after Wayne Couzens was handed a whole life order. Source: PA Wire

He said his family struggled to reconcile how "the man they loved" who had given "no indication of violence towards the person" could have "behaved in this way".

"He appeared to be living a life as a law-abiding man with a loving family and his colleagues described him as calm and friendly," Mr Sturman added.

"Nothing I say today is at all intended to minimise the horror of what the defendant did that night and after.

"He makes no excuses for his actions, he accepts he will receive, and he deserves, a severe punishment.

"No right-minded person… can feel anything other than revulsion for what he did.

"He does not seek to make excuses for anything that he did and he is filled with self-loathing and abject shame. And he should be."

Sarah Everard is pictured.
Sarah Everard was walking home when she was kidnapped and later raped and murdered by Wayne Couzens. Source: Family Handout/CPS/PA Wire

Couzens' crimes 'warped, selfish and brutal offending', judge says

But the judge said the seriousness of the case was so “exceptionally high” that it warranted a whole life order.

“The misuse of a police officer’s role such as occurred in this case in order to kidnap, rape and murder a lone victim is of equal seriousness as a murder for the purpose of advancing a political, religious ideological cause,” the judge said.

“You have eroded the confidence that the public are entitled to have in the police forces of England and Wales.

“It is critical that every subject in this country can trust police officers when they encounter them and submit to their authority, which they are entitled to believe is being exercised in good faith."

He went on: “You have utterly betrayed your family. Your wife and children, who on all the evidence, are entirely blameless will have to live with the ignominy of your dreadful crimes for the rest of their lives.

“You have very considerably added to the sense of insecurity that many have living in our cities, perhaps particularly women, when travelling by themselves and especially at night.”

The judge also paid tribute to the dignity of Ms Everard’s family, whose statements in court on Wednesday revealed the human impact of Couzens’ “warped, selfish and brutal offending which was both sexual and homicidal”.

– Ellen Manning, Yahoo News UK

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