Sarah Everard murder: Lawyer who took police force to task for ‘machismo’ culture to lead inquiry

An inquiry into Sarah Everard’s murder will be chaired by a top Scottish lawyer whose scathing review of a police force last year condemned “machismo” canteen culture. 

The Home Secretary announced on Monday that Dame Elish Angiolini QC, a former lord advocate of Scotland, had agreed to chair the two-part inquiry.

Dame Elish Angiolini will lead the inquiry

Credit: Ian Wallman/PA Wire

It will firstly examine the conduct of Wayne Couzens – the Metropolitan Police officer who raped and murdered Ms Everard after abducting her from a London street in March – throughout his policing career, including whether any warning signs were missed. 

The second part of the inquiry will examine any issues specifically raised by the first part. 

Separate misconduct investigations are taking place over a string of offences allegedly involving Couzens, including two incidents of indecent exposure in a McDonald’s restaurant. 

The inquiry will examine the conduct of Wayne Couzens

Credit: Metropolitan Police

Five serving police officers, including three from Scotland Yard, are also being investigated for allegedly sharing racist, misogynistic and homophobic messages with Wayne Couzens on WhatsApp.

‘Closure as quickly as possible’ for Sarah Everard’s family

Dame Elish has led several independent investigations into police forces before, most recently Police Scotland last year. 

Her report laid bare evidence of racism, misogyny and homophobia and led her to call for a push to rid Police Scotland of “canteen culture" and "machismo behaviour”.

It was in this culture, she concluded, that racist and sexist attitudes were informally shared. 

On Monday, Priti Patel said the inquiry will proceed on a non-statutory basis in a bid to give Ms Everard’s family "closure as quickly as possible".

The Home Secretary told MPs: "I will not rule out converting this onto a statutory footing should Dame Elish feel that she’s unable to fulfil the terms of reference on a non-statutory basis.

"Sarah Everard’s life was ended too early by an evil man whose job it was to protect her.

"We owe it to her and her loved ones and her family to prevent something like this from ever happening again."

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