‘Absolutely terrifying’: Women react to revelation Wayne Couzens ‘falsely arrested’ Sarah Everard

·3-min read

Watch: Wayne Couzens handcuffed and arrested Sarah Everard before killing her, court hears

Women have shared their reactions after disturbing details emerged about the murder of Sarah Everard.

A court heard Ms Everard was raped, murdered and then burned by former Metropolitan police officer Wayne Couzens.

He used his warrant card and handcuffs to kidnap the 33-year-old marketing executive, using COVID lockdown regulations to make a “false arrest”, the Old Bailey heard.

CCTV footage played in court showed Couzens handcuffing Ms Everard and putting her into the back of a car in Clapham, south London, on 3 March.

Couzens went on to rape and strangle Ms Everard and her body was found on 10 March in a wooded area in Ashford, Kent. 

Sarah Everard and Wayne Couzens (PA)
Sarah Everard and Wayne Couzens (PA)

The court heard Couzens took a family trip with his wife and two children to the same woods where he had dumped and burned Ms Everard’s body just days before. 

Couzens has pleaded guilty to kidnap, rape and murder and faces a possible full life sentence when he is sentenced by Lord Justice Fulford at the Old Bailey on Thursday.

Activists, MPs and women’s rights organisations have shared their responses to the details that emerged in court on Wednesday.

(Twitter)
(Twitter)

Watch: CCTV shows moments before Sarah Everard’s kidnapping

Leader of the Women's Equality Party Mandu Reid tweeted: “This is abuse of power of the highest order. It’s absolutely terrifying.

“How are women supposed to trust the police - when the leaders and politicians responsible for them will barely acknowledge let alone commit to addressing the misogyny in their ranks?”

Writer and campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez wrote: "Reading about Sarah Everard's rapist & murdered and I can't stop thinking about his colleagues who were turning a blind eye to his behaviour." 

Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy added: “Today, the police officer who murdered Sarah Everard is being sentenced. The details emerging from the courtroom are truly horrifying.

“My love and solidarity are with everyone who loved Sarah and all the women who have lost their lives to male violence.”

The Women’s Aid charity wrote: “Let this sink in. The killer of Sarah Everard is now an ex-officer. He was a serving officer when he abused his position & committed this heinous crime.

“He was only dismissed from his role once he was arrested. How are women expected to feel safe?”

(Twitter)
(Twitter)
(Twitter)
(Twitter)

A vast number of women on social media also shared their outrage and despair, with many responding to Met's statement, saying it wasn't sufficient.

Screenwriter Sarah Phelps wrote she felt “sick” after hearing the details of Ms Everard’s murder.

Twitter user Katie said the Met should have acted earlier when Couzens had shown signs of violence against women and questioned attitudes towards women in the police force.

Cara added: “Sarah Everard’s case is so terrifying because she followed all the ‘rules’ that women are supposed to follow to keep safe.

“Phoned her boyfriend, walked in a well lit area, wasn’t out late, only to be brazenly kidnapped in public by somebody in a position of authority.”

Freya wrote: “I cannot find words to express my utter rage at this. We are not safe from the men in our homes, the men we fall in love with, the men we befriend, and the men who are supposed to protect us from those who wish to harm us.”

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Susan Everard (right), the mother of Sarah Everard, reading a victim impact statement as former Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens (left), 48, sits in the dock at the Old Bailey in London, on the first day of a two-day sentence hearing after pleading guilty to the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard. Picture date: Wednesday September 29, 2021.
Susan Everard (right), the mother of Sarah Everard, reading a victim impact statement as former police officer Wayne Couzens (left), 48, sits in the dock. (PA)

The Met Police said in a statement: “We are sickened, angered and devastated by this man’s crimes which betray everything we stand for.

“Our thoughts are with Sarah’s family and her many friends. It is not possible for us to imagine what they are going through.

“We recognise his actions raise many questions and concerns but we will not be commenting further until the hearing is complete.”

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