The Murder of Sarah Everard: London Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Killing Woman Kidnapped While Walking Home

Sarah Everard, 33, was kidnapped and killed while walking home earlier this year.
Metropolitan Police

Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens pleaded guilty to murdering Sarah Everard during a hearing at London's Central Criminal Court on Friday.

The London police officer charged in the murder of Sarah Everard has pleaded guilty to killing the 33-year-old who vanished as she walked home earlier this year.

Appearing by video from the high-security prison in which he's being held, Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, entered a guilty plea Friday during a hearing at London's Central Criminal Court, CBS News reported.

Couzens pleaded guilty last month to kidnapping and rape charges in the case, but did not enter a plea on the murder charge. 

He will be sentenced in September. 

Everard, a marketing executive based in London, vanished on March 3 after leaving a friend's house as she was heading back to her home in south London.

Police confirmed that she made a 15-minute call to her boyfriend, who she arranged to meet the following day, according to the Evening Standard.

She was captured on surveillance camera around 30 minutes after leaving the friend’s home and again several minutes later on the dash cam of a passing police car, Yahoo News reported. Around the same time, a bus camera also captured two figures and a white Vauxhall Astra with its hazard lights flashing on the road where Everard was last seen.

Her boyfriend reported her missing the next day, BBC reported.

Couzens was arrested the day before Everard's body was found on March 10 in the woods near Kent, nearly 50 miles from where she was last seen alive. An autopsy revealed that Everard died by compression of the neck.

Couzens joined the police force in 2018 and patrolled various diplomatic premises. Police say he was not on duty at the time of Everard's disappearance. 

Commissioner Cressida Dick said in a televised statement that news of the officer’s arrest “sent waves and shock and anger through the public” and the entire force.

“I speak on behalf of all my colleagues in the Met when I say we are utterly appalled at this dreadful news,” Dick said.

Everard's death sparked outrage throughout England as high levels of violence against women by men continue to spike across the country.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan legitimized the widespread fear when he said that the streets of London are not safe for women and girls, according to the Independent.

“If you’re a woman or a girl, your experiences of our city, in any public space, whether it’s in the workplace, on the streets, on public transport is very different to if you are a man or a boy. And it’s really important that people like me in positions of power and influence understand that and take steps to address that,” Khan said.

Many have showed their support for Everard, including Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, or Kate Middleton, who left flowers at a vigil for the slain woman on March 13. 

In a statement, Everard’s family remembered her as “bright and beautiful” and “a wonderful daughter and sister.”

“She always put others first and had the most amazing sense of humor. She was strong and principled and a shining example to us all,” the statement continued.

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