New details regarding the murder of London woman Sarah Everard have been revealed during the sentencing of Wayne Couzens.
Former Metropolitan Police officer Couzens plead guilty to the murder of Everard in July following her death in March, with a two-day sentencing for the crime beginning today, September 29, at the Old Bailey.
ITV News correspondent Rebecca Barry is on the scene at the sentencing, where new details surrounding Everard’s disappearance and death have come to light.
Barry reported that Couzens purchased plot of woodland in Hoads Wood in 2019 and described it at the time as ‘perfect for day trips’, but later planned to burn Everard’s body there following her murder.
The following year, in December, he set up an online dating profile and shared various false details about himself, claiming he was separated and had no dependent children. Members of the public reported seeing the former officer wearing his police belt, with handcuffs, even while off duty, and on one occasion was jokingly asked if he was ‘into kinky stuff’.
Per Sky News, Couzens replied, ‘I am an undercover police officer.’
When it came to the targeting Everard, Barry states the former officer worked on COVID patrols in January 2021, meaning he was ‘aware of the regulations and what language to use to those who may have breached them’. This knowledge is said to have been used to kidnap Everard as she made her way home from a friend’s house.
In the month prior to the murder, Couzens also purchased a ‘police standard issue handcuff key with double locking pin’ from Amazon, which prosecutors claim was part of his planning to carry out the kidnapping. On the night of the kidnapping on March 3, the former officer told his family he was working, which he was not.
Within hours of the murder, Couzens reportedly threw Everard’s mobile phone into the flood relief channel in Sandwich. A broken fragment of her sim card was later found in his car, with prosecutor Tom Little commenting, ‘He must have removed it from the telephone and tried to destroy it, having taken her phone from her.’
Prosecutors at the sentencing have summarised what happened to Everard in five words: ‘deception; kidnap; rape; strangulation; fire.’
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