Trial date set for police officer charged with murder and kidnap of Sarah Everard

A police officer is due to go on trial in the autumn for the kidnap and murder of former Durham University student Sarah Everard.

PC Wayne Couzens, 48, is accused of snatching the 33-year-old marketing executive as she walked home from a friend's flat in Clapham, south London, on the evening of March 3.

On Tuesday, the Metropolitan Police officer made his first appearance at the Old Bailey by video link from Belmarsh top security jail in south London.

Wearing a red sweatshirt and grey jogging bottoms, the defendant appeared to have a wound on his forehead.

Sarah Everard's killer Wayne Couzens kidnapped the 33-year-old by pretending to arrest her Credit: ITV News

He spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth.

Members of Ms Everard's family joined the hearing in court 10 of the Central Criminal Court by video link, according to court officials.

Prosecutor Tom Little QC said the circumstances of the case had led to a "very significant and wide-ranging investigation".

He told the court the case had attracted an "almost unprecedented media and public attention".

Judge Mark Lucraft QC set a provisional Old Bailey trial for October 25 with a plea hearing on July 9.

Couzens, who sat with his head bowed throughout the hearing, was remanded into custody.

Ms Everard, who was from York, was reported missing by her boyfriend on March 4.

Her body was found hidden in an area of woodland in Ashford, Kent, on March 10.

She was discovered inside a large builder's bag and was formally identified through her dental records.

A post-mortem examination has taken place but no cause of death has yet been given.

Couzens, who worked on the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command unit, had finished a shift earlier on the morning of March 3 and was not on duty at the time of Ms Everard's disappearance.

The officer, from Deal in Kent, was charged with kidnap and murder on Friday and appeared before Westminster Magistrates' Court the following day.

Ms Everard's death has sparked vigils across the country in her memory and demands for action to tackle violence against women.

Images of women being manhandled by police officers at a vigil on Clapham Common on Saturday night has led to shock and widespread condemnation.