Life Will Mean Life for Sarah Everard Killer

Wayne Couzens given whole-life tariff
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2021 9:55 AM CDT
Updated Sep 30, 2021 6:40 AM CDT
Prosecutor: Sarah Everard's Killer Performed Fake Arrest
This undated file photo shows Sarah Everard.   (Metropolitan Police via AP)

Update: Former Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens has been given the longest sentence possible under British law for the murder of Sarah Everard. After a two-day hearing that involved harrowing details of Everard's final hours and devastating victim impact statements from her family, the 48-year-old was sentenced to a rare whole-life tariff Thursday, meaning he will never be released, the Guardian reports. Couzens pleaded guilty to the kidnap, rape, and murder of the London woman and faced a mandatory life sentence. His barrister acknowledged that there was "little mitigation" and Couzens deserved a life sentence, though he argued that the sentence should leave the possibility of parole open because of his client's guilty plea and "genuine remorse." Our original story from Wednesday follows:

Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens stopped Sarah Everard on a London street on March 3, claiming she'd broken COVID-19 lockdown rules, before he kidnapped and ultimately killed her, according to prosecutors who spoke Wednesday during the first of a two-day sentencing hearing at London's Old Bailey, per the Guardian. The 48-year-old Couzens has pleaded guilty to 33-year-old Everard’s kidnap, rape, and murder, and faces a mandatory life sentence.

Prosecutor Tom Little said Couzens had been "hunting for a lone young female to kidnap and rape" when he stopped Everard after 11:30pm as she walked home from a friend's house, per the AP. Couzens—who was involved in enforcing COVID-19 restrictions—wore his police belt with handcuffs and produced his police warrant card in detaining Everard "by fraud," Little said. The prosecutor noted that a woman in a passing car who saw Couzens handcuff Everard on the pavement, then walk her toward his car, believed she was witnessing an arrest by an undercover officer.

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In handcuffs, Everard "would not have been able to undo the seatbelt that the defendant must have placed over her," Little added, per the Guardian. Couzens, who was driving a rental car, transported Everard to Kent, where he killed her, then burned her body, on which his semen was found, prosecutors said. The defendant sat with his head bowed and eyes closed during Wednesday's hearing, the Guardian notes. A judge will determine the details of his sentence, including the minimum time to be served before the possibility of release, on Thursday. (More murder stories.)

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