Sarah Everard death: Pc Wayne Couzens pleads guilty to kidnap and rape

A serving police officer has admitted kidnapping and raping Sarah Everard – the marketing executive who went missing near Clapham Common. 

Wayne Couzens, 48, from Deal in Kent was arrested and charged with her kidnap and murder in March, and a trial was set for October. 

But the Metropolitan Police officer on Tuesday pleaded guilty to her kidnap and rape. 

The Old Bailey heard Couzens accepted responsibility for the killing of Ms Everard but was not asked to enter a plea to a charge of murder.

He appeared via a video link from Belmarsh Prison where he is being held on remand. Four members of Miss Everard’s family were in court to hear the pleas.

The Metropolitan Police officer was wearing khaki trousers and a grey sweatshirt as he pleaded guilty to kidnapping Ms Everard "unlawfully and by force or fraud" on March 3.

Sarah Everard death: Serving Met officer Wayne Couzens pleads guilty to kidnap and rape

Reading the indictment to Couzens, the clerk of the court said: "You are charged that on Mar 2, 2021, you unlawfully and by force or fraud took or carried away Sarah Everard against her will. Are you guilty or not guilty?"

With his head bowed Couzens replied: "Guilty, sir."

Asked how he pleaded to the charge of rape, Couzens again replied: "Guilty, sir."

The former diplomatic protection officer from Kent is also charged with murdering Miss Everard, but the charge was not put to him because medical reports regarding his state of mind at the time of the killing are still pending.

However the court heard that Couzens accepts responsibility for her death.

Throughout the 30-minuite hearing, Couzens sat with his head bowed with the sleeves of his top pulled down over his hands.

He spoke clearly when asked to enter his pleas.

A further hearing before Lord Justice Fulford is due to take place on July 9.

At the beginning of this month, a post-mortem revealed she had died as a result of compression of the neck. 

Miss Everard’s body was found in a large builder’s bag having last been seen walking home from a friend’s house in Clapham on Mar 3. 

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The 33-year-old was reported missing the following day when she failed to show up to meet her boyfriend.

After a huge police search, the bag containing her remains was found in woodlands in Kent. 

She had to be identified by her dental records.

Couzens, who was attached to Scotland Yard’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, was arrested at his home in Kent where he lives with his wife and two children. 

After his arrest, he was twice rushed to hospital after suffering head injuries in his cell. There is no suggestion anyone else was involved.

Miss Everard’s death prompted a national debate around female safety and has increased demands for more to be done to tackle violence against women.

A vigil in memory of Ms Everard ended in ugly scenes when the police moved in to break up a large gathering that was in breach of lockdown restrictions.

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