Former police officer Wayne Couzens is due to appear in court for sentencing for the murder, kidnap and rape of Sarah Everard.
Couzens, 48 will be appearing at the Old Bailey today as part of the two-day sentencing hearing.
Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, was reported missing by her boyfriend on March 4 after she failed to turn up to work after visiting a friend’s house in Clapham, south London.
Couzens captured Everard’s disappearance from a bus camera.
Her body was discovered in Ashford, Kent a week later.
Everard’s murder led to a worldwide outpouring of grief and sparked protests against violence towards women. A vigil at Clapham Common in March ignited controversy after claims police acted in a heavy-handed manner, however, a police watchdog report found police acted “appropriately”.
Couzens pleaded guilty in June to Everard’s kidnap, rape, and murder. Couzens was a former diplomatic protection officer at the Metropolitan Police. He had purchased self-adhesive films and rented a car with his own details just days before the murder.
After Couzens’ guilty plea, he was dismissed by Met Police.
Today, Couzens will come face-to-face with Everard’s loved ones as he finds out how long he will spend behind bars.
This timeline shows how the case progressed from 2015, when Couzens was charged with indecent exposure.
The Sarah Everard case timeline:
– 2015: Kent Police allegedly fail to investigate an indecent exposure incident linked to Wayne Couzens.
– September 2018: Couzens transfers to the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC).
– 2019: Couzens and his wife buy a small area of woodland off Fridd Lane in Ashford, Kent.
– February 2019: The Pc joins a response team covering the Bromley area of south London, having initially served in a Safer Neighbourhood Team.
– February 2020: He moves to the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command to patrol diplomatic premises, mainly embassies.
– February 2021: The 48-year-old is linked to two allegations of indecent exposure in London, which it is claimed Scotland Yard failed to investigate.
– February 28: Couzens books a white Vauxhall Astra from a car hire firm in Dover, Kent, using his personal details and bank card.
He also purchased a roll self-adhesive film that was advertised on Amazon as a carpet protector.
– March 2:7pm – Couzens starts a 12-hour shift at his base in West Brompton, west London.
– March 3: On the day of her disappearance, Sarah Everard visits a friend in the Clapham Junction area and uses her bank card to buy a bottle of wine in Sainsbury’s in Brixton Hill, south London, on her way.
4.45pm – Couzens collects the hire car.
9pm – Everard leaves to walk home, some two and a half miles away.
9.13pm – She calls her boyfriend for a little over 14 minutes.
9.15pm – Everard is captured alone on CCTV at the junction of Bowood Road and the South Circular.
9.28pm – The next sighting is on Cavendish Road and she is still alone.
9.32pm – Everard is caught on the camera on a marked police car.
9.35pm – A bus camera captures two figures on Poynders Road standing beside a white Vauxhall Astra parked on the pavement with hazard lights flashing.
9.38pm – Another bus camera captures the same vehicle with the two front car doors open.
– March 4:1am – Having travelled out of London, the car is in the Tilmanstone area of Kent.
8.30am – Couzens returns the hire car used in the abduction.
8.10pm – Ms Everard is reported missing by her boyfriend, Josh Lowth.
– March 5: The case is escalated and the Specialist Crime Unit becomes involved.
Couzens reports to work, that he is experiencing stress.
2pm – He buys two green rubble bags for £9.94 at B&Q in Dover.
– March 6: Couzens emails his supervisor that he no longer wants to carry a firearm.
He orders a Tarpaulin and an Amazon bungee cargo net, which are shipped to his home the next day.
– March 8: The officer reports in sick on the day he is due to return to work.
– March 9: 7.11pm – Couzens’ phone is wiped of all data.
7.50pm – Couzens is arrested at his home in Deal, Kent.
He tells a short story about being threatened in East Europe by a gang.
– March 10: At around 4.45pm, a body is discovered in a wooded area in Ashford, Kent, and later formally identified by dental records. Couzens owns the land within 100 metres.
– March 11: Couzens answers “no comment” in formal interviews.
– March 12: 8.45pm: Couzens is charged.
– July 9: Couzens pleads guilty to murder when he appears at the Old Bailey by video link from Belmarsh high-security jail.
– September 29: Couzens faces a possible whole life order when he is sentenced.
At the two-day hearing, Prosecutor Tom Little QC will reveal more information about the murder and will detail how Couzens was tracked down.
Jim Sturman QC will then be expected to offer mitigation for Couzens.
Lord Justice Fulford, the judge has stated that he will look at Couzens’ whole life order.
Previously speaking outside the Old Bailey in July, Met Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick expressed her condolences to Sarah Everard’s loved ones.
She said: “All of us in the Met are sickened, angered and devastated by this man’s crimes. They are dreadful. Everyone in policing feels betrayed.
“Sarah was a fantastic, talented young woman with her whole life ahead of her and that has been snatched away. She was hugely loved and she will be sorely missed by so very many people.
The commissioner added: “No words can adequately express the profound sadness and anger and regret that everyone in the Met feels about what happened to Sarah.”
In a statement released this morning, a Met Police spokesperson said: “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.”
Additional reporting by PA.