Sarah Everard: Police officer held over disappearance is arrested on suspicion of murder

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Rebecca Barry

The serving police officer arrested in connection with the disappearance of Sarah Everard has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

The man, who is aged in his 40s, was first arrested on Tuesday evening on suspicion of kidnap.

But Scotland Yard have now said he has been further arrested on suspicion of murder and a separate allegation of indecent exposure.

The man is a serving Metropolitan Police officer in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, police have said.

His primary role was "uniformed patrol duties of diplomatic premises."

A woman, aged in her 30s, was also arrested on Tuesday evening on suspicion of assisting an offender. She remains in custody.

Meanwhile detectives are searching a home and woodland in Kent.

The 33-year-old marketing executive vanished while walking home from a friend’s flat in south London on Wednesday, March 3.

The officer arrested was not on duty at the time of Ms Everard's disappearance, a police chief has said.

Speaking on Wednesday morning, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave did not provide further details on what the arrest was on suspicion of or how long the man had been in the force.

A tent has been erected outside a house in Freemens Way in Deal. Credit: PA

On Wednesday, police searches were being carried out in two locations in the county – on land near Ashford and at a property in Deal.

A tent was erected outside a house in Freemens Way in Deal and a car was seen being taken away from the property.

A neighbour said a police officer lives at the address with his "chatty" wife and two children.

She said: "They just seemed like a normal, regular family, there was nothing strange about them at all."

ITV News reporter Rebecca Barry reports from outside the arrested officer's home

She added police were digging up the garden.

After making a statement on Wednesday morning, AC Ephgrave was asked whether he believes Ms Everard is still alive.

He said: "We are searching as hard as we can to find Sarah. We really hope that is the case, of course."

The case has been referred to watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct as it involves a police officer.

A spokesman said it had been decided that the Metropolitan Police would investigate any potential conduct issues linked to the kidnap and murder allegations itself.

The IOPC is currently assessing whether any further action should be taken in relation to the in relation to the actions of police after Ms Everard was reported missing.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said said his thoughts and prayers are with Ms Everard's family.

A car is removed from a property in Deal, Kent. Credit: ITV Meridian

“All women and girls should be able to feel safe on the streets of London at all times. I know how shocked and worried Londoners are by Sarah’s disappearance and the developments in the case," he said.

“I want to assure Sarah’s family, and everyone in our city, that the police are doing absolutely everything they can to find her."Ms Everard is thought to have walked through Clapham Common towards her house in Brixton – a journey that should have taken around 50 minutes.

She was last captured on a doorbell camera walking along the A205 Poynders Road towards Tulse Hill at around 9.30pm.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police search land near to Great Chart Golf and Lesiure in Ashford, Kent. Credit: PA

AC Ephgrave said earlier on the police officer's arrest: "This is a serious and significant development in our search for Sarah and the fact that the man arrested is a serving police officer is both shocking and deeply disturbing.

"I recognise the significant concern this will cause.

"It's really important the investigation team are given the space and time to find Sarah and they are working at all speed to do so.

"I would also like to thank all members of the public who have come forward since we made our appeal to give information.

Sarah Everard has been missing since Wednesday Credit: Metropolitan Police/PA

"Every piece of information is important to us and I would reissue that request now that anyone who thinks they may know anything about Sarah's disappearance to come forward.

"As a father myself of four young women, I can only imagine the anguish that Sarah's family are feeling at this very very difficult time.

"My thoughts and prayers and those of the entire organisation are with them now. Thank you."

Ms Everard was last seen wearing a green rain jacket, navy blue trousers with a white diamond pattern, and turquoise and orange trainers.

Sarah Everard was captured on CCTV shortly before she was last seen. Credit: Met Police

She is thought to have been wearing green earphones and a white beanie hat.

On Tuesday evening, police put up a cordon outside a block of flats near where the footage was recorded.

The search was focused on the Poynders Court housing complex on Poynders Road, and forensics officers could be seen examining the area.

Sniffer dogs were also used to search the nearby Oaklands Estate and gardens in surrounding streets, while other officers were lifting covers and searching drains along the A205.