Met Police ‘sorry’ Couzens was not caught before killing Sarah Everard

Wayne Couzens first indecent exposure was carried out in November 2020 Credit: ITV News

Police said they are “sorry” that former officer Wayne Couzens was not caught before he raped and murdered Sarah Everard following a string of indecent exposure offences. The sexual predator was finally brought to justice for flashing at three women over a four-month period, with the last incident just days before he kidnapped 33-year-old Ms Everard on March 3, 2021. The former Metropolitan Police officer, 50, was sentenced to 19 months in prison on Monday after admitting three counts of indecent exposure. The Met’s deputy assistant commissioner Stuart Cundy, who leads the force’s Directorate of Professional Standards, said: “Today’s sentencing reflects the impact these awful crimes committed by Couzens’ has had on the women he targeted. “I have read the victim impact statements and it is clear to me the hurt and trauma that he inflicted on them. It is their courage that has been crucial in bringing him to justice and I am sorry for what they have gone through. “Like so many, I wish he had been arrested for these offences before he went on to kidnap, rape and murder Sarah Everard and I am sorry that he wasn’t.”

Sarah Everard was killed after she was kidnapped while walking home from a friend’s flat Credit: Family handout/PA

The incidents occurred in Kent but the Met’s response to Couzens’ offending has been independently investigated, with one officer due to face a misconduct hearing. On February 28, 2021, the force received an allegation of exposure at a location in Swanley, which it says was recorded and passed to a local officer to investigate. Couzens’ first indecent exposure was carried out in November 2020 – four months before Ms Everard’s murder. But the victim, a female cyclist who was flashed at while she rode along a country lane, said the crime was not “taken as seriously” as it should have been when she reported it. “There were opportunities to identify you and they were not taken,” she said. By the time of Sarah Everard’s kidnap, the investigation was not concluded and Couzens’ occupation had not been identified. “The fact he did this whilst serving as a police officer has brought shame on all (of) us who swore to protect the communities we serve,” Mr Cundy said. “My thoughts today are with all those targeted by Wayne Couzens and Sarah Everard’s family.” Detective chief inspector Katherine Goodwin, who leads the Met’s Specialist Crime Command team that also investigated the murder of Sarah Everard, said: “Those who came forward have shown strength and dignity in the face of Couzens’ attempts to scare and demean them for his own satisfaction. “I would like to recognise their patience and co-operation throughout the case, and thank them for standing up to him. Without them justice could not have been served.

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