Sarah Everard’s parents, brother and sister watch as inquest opens

Sarah Everard’s parents and brother and sister watched proceedings on Thursday as an inquest into the death of the 33-year-old was opened in Kent.

Inquiries as to her cause of death are still under way after an initial post-mortem examination was inconclusive, a coroner said.

Senior coroner Patricia Harding opened the inquest in Maidstone, Kent as police continue their investigations.

The hearing took less than half an hour and saw inquest proceedings opened and adjourned pending the outcome of the criminal investigation.

  • ITV News Correspondent Rebecca Barry on the opening of the inquest

Ms Harding gave her condolences to the family members viewing proceedings.

Ms Everard went missing on March 3 while walking home after visiting a friend in south London.

Her body was found in woodland near Ashford in Kent a week later, and serving police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, from Deal, also in Kent, has been charged with her murder.

Police seen last week searching woodland in Kent

Elsewhere in the county, a large police presence has been seen in the town of Sandwich in recent days as officers continue to search for clues.

Giving evidence at the brief hearing, acting Detective Inspector Lee Tullett said police had worked to plot Ms Everard’s route home on March 3.

He told the coroner that she had made a 15-minute call to her boyfriend that ended around 9.27pm.

He added: “There was no further activity on her phone.

“There was no social media presence and she failed to attend a meeting at work the following day.

“This was all very much out of character.”

A missing person’s inquiry was launched and continued as police conducted searches, viewed CCTV and conducted local inquiries.

The inquest heard that more than one post mortem has so far been commissioned and that police are still awaiting the final results.

Ms Harding said: “The body of Sarah has now been released to her family in order that a funeral can take place.”