Wayne Couzens, a 48-year-old police officer was sentenced Thursday, September 30, by British justice to life imprisonment for the rape and murder in March of Londoner Sarah Everard.
In announcing his sentence to Wayne Couzens at the Old Bailey Criminal Court in London, Judge Adrian Fulford recalled that the murder had occurred in “Particularly brutal circumstances” and had touched a victim “Totally irreproachable”. Wayne Couzens staged a “False arrest”, on the pretext of a breach of confinement to kidnap her, the prosecutor explained the day before. The police officer, who had been part of patrols to enforce the rules against the Covid-19, handcuffed her, showing her her professional card.
The death of Sarah Everard, 33, kidnapped as she walked home from a dinner with friends, then found dead strangled and body burned a week later in a wood, had caused a stir in the country. Thousands of women had shared their feeling of insecurity on social networks, calling on politicians to act against violence against women.
Judge said Wayne Couzens, a married man with two children, was gone “Hunt a woman alone to kidnap and rape her” and that he must have realized that he “Might need to kill her”.
The toughest sentence in UK criminal justice
The sentence imposed on this policeman – called “Whole life order” – is the most severe foreseen in the British criminal justice system. It is intended to punish those who commit the most serious crimes. A person sentenced to such a sentence cannot submit requests for parole unless there are exceptional humanitarian grounds to justify them.
The judge said the officer tried to “Minimize his real responsibility” during his interview with the police. After assuring the police that he had handed Sarah Everard alive to three men from Eastern Europe, Wayne Couzens admitted his responsibility and pleaded guilty to the kidnapping, rape and murder of the young marketing manager. Couzens’ lawyer Jim Sturman explained Thursday that his client “Was not looking to find excuses for what he did and that he is filled with self-hatred and shame”.