Wayne Couzens has today received a whole-life sentence for the “grotesque” kidnap, rape and murder of 33-year-old marketing executive Sarah Everard.
The whole-life sentence means he is expected to die behind bars.
Harrowing CCTV footage released yesterday showed the then serving police officer luring Everard into his rented car after “arresting” her for a fake Covid breach in Clapham, south London, on March 3.
The sentencing hearing, which began yesterday, heard that Couzens then drove her to woodlands in Kent where she was raped and strangled to death with Couzens’ police belt, before her body was burned several days later. It sparked an international outpouring in grief and calls for change after her body was found.
Couzens, who was convicted of the murder, bought himself hot chocolate from Costa and baked a tart from Bakewell. He also made a bizarre phone call to a vet and allowed his children to play close to where Ms Everard’s body was discovered.
Before committing the atrocious crime against Ms Everard he was also accused of indecent exposure. This was even before she was murdered.
Below is a chilling timeline that shows some of the horrendous behavior Couzens displayed before Everard’s murder. It goes back to 2011, and also shows how he acted following the murder.
There are several details that readers might find disturbing.
–March 2011: Wayne Couzens joins the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC). While working at the CNC, it’s been reported that his colleagues nicknamed him “The Rapist” as he made his female colleagues feel uncomfortable.
– June 2015: Kent Police allegedly fail to investigate an indecent exposure incident linked to Couzens. According to The Guardian, the incident involved reports of a man being naked from the waist down in a car in Dover. The Independent Office for Police Conduct is currently investigating the matter.
– February 2021: The 48-year-old is linked to two allegations of indecent exposure at a McDonald’s in London, which it is claimed Scotland Yard failed to investigate.
– 28 February 2021: Couzens books a white Vauxhall Astra from a car hire firm in Dover, Kent, using his personal details and bank card. He also bought a roll adhesive film, which he advertised as a carpet protector online.
– March 2:7pm – Couzens starts a 12-hour shift at his base in West Brompton, west London.
– March 3. Couzens takes Everard’s car on the day Everard is taken. Couzens then collects the rental car at 4.45pm.
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. Couzens is believed to have been wearing his police officer belt with handcuffs. He also had a rectangular, black pouch similar to a pepper spray container when he kidnapped Everard.
CCTV footage showed Couzens handcuffing Everard before putting her in the back seat. Passing couple saw the kidnapping, but mistakenly thought it was an undercover officer’s arrest.
– March 4: 1am – Having travelled out of London, the car is in the Tilmanstone area of Kent.
2:30am: Although Everard’s time of death could not be pinpointed to an exact time, Tom Little QC said that she must have been dead at around 2:30am when Couzens pulled into a Dover service station and bought drinks.
8:15am – Couzens was captured on CCTV in a Costa Coffee shop in Dover buying a hot chocolate and bakewell tart. Couzens drove just 300 miles before returning the Vauxhall car rental.
Later that morning, Couzens throws Ms Everard’s mobile phone into a channel at Sandwich, only for it to be retrieved by a diver as part of a search of the waterway.
–March 5: Couzens, who is due to be off until March 8, reports to work that he is suffering with stress.
Couzens buys petrol which he uses to burn Ms Everard’s body in the woods, the court heard. The driver also saw a large orange/yellow flame in a wooded area with a white object close by. The driver’s account was consistent with where Couzens burnt Everard’s body and possessions in a fridge.
Afternoon: Couzens made a bizarre phone call to a vet about his dog Maddy’s “separation anxiety”. In the call played in court, he said he wanted to see the vet to discuss her “issues”.
During the same afternoon, Couzens bought builders bags which he used to move Ms Everard’s heavily burnt remains to the pond where she was eventually found.
-March 6: Couzens emails his supervisor that he no longer wants to carry a firearm.
He orders a Tarpaulin and a Bungee Cargo Net on Amazon. These are shipped to Couzens the next day.
– March 7: Couzens took his wife and children on a family trip to Hoads Wood, close to where Everard’s body was discovered. He allowed his children to play in relatively close proximity to where Ms Everard’s body had been dumped in the pond.
– 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.
Couzens, in a short interview, claimed that he was being threatened by a gang at the time he was taken into custody at his Deal home.
– 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. On the same day he was taken to hospital after he collapsed in his cell at Wandsworth police station after suffering “serious head wounds”, The Sun reported.
He was charged on March 12 and pleaded guilty to the kidnap and rape on June 8. He accepted responsibility for the murder, but was not asked to plead guilty to a murder charge.
On July 9, Couzens pleads guilty to murder.
For live updates on the case throughout the day, follow The Independent’s live blog.
Additional reporting by PA