Were there missed opportunities to prevent Sarah Everard's murder?

Sarah Everard’s family were sitting in Court 12 at the Old Bailey watching as Wayne Couzens pleaded guilty to her murder.

He appeared via video link from Belmarsh high security prison, sitting with his head bowed, clasping his hands between his knees.

When asked to enter a plea he spoke quietly, saying “guilty ma’am”. His lawyer told the court that he feels “true and genuine guilt” that he will feel remorse for “the rest of his life”, but that will offer little consolation to Sarah Everard’s family.

Afterwards the head of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, met the family and told them how “very sorry” she is for their loss; but there remain serious questions about how the police investigated one of their own.

It’s emerged Wayne Couzens was linked to an allegation of indecent exposure six years ago, back in 2015.

The police watchdog, The Independent Office for Police Conduct, is now investigating whether Kent Police handled handled that allegation appropriately.

Pc Wayne Couzens has been sacked from the Metropolitan Police after being convicted of the murder, rape and kidnap of Sarah Everard Credit: Met Police

The watchdog is also looking into the Met Police’s handling of two allegations of indecent exposure linked to Wayne Couzens shortly before he kidnapped and murdered Sarah Everard.

Many will ask how a man capable of committing such serious crimes could be deemed suitable to become a firearms officer within the Metropolitan Police.

Others will wonder whether there were missed opportunities to prevent the murder of Sarah Everard.

Her family left court discretely today, they have chosen to stay away from the spotlight they never wanted.

Though Sarah Everard’s name now seems synonymous with a national debate about women’s safety, they have never chosen to merge the memory of her with a movement.

Perhaps they want to keep something of her to themselves.