Metropolitan Police officer Pc Wayne Couzens pleads guilty to murder of Sarah Everard
A Metropolitan Police officer has pleaded guilty to murdering Sarah Everard.
The sexual predator, who had clocked off from a 12-hour shift that morning, raped and strangled the 33-year-old marketing executive.
Police launched an inquiry after Ms Everard was reported missing by boyfriend Josh Lowth.
Couzens, a firearms-trained parliamentary and diplomatic protection officer, wiped his phone just minutes before his arrest at home in Deal, Kent, on Tuesday, March 9.
The following day Ms Everard’s body was found in Ashford, Kent, just metres from land owned by Couzens.
Police were criticised over the manhandling of women at a vigil for Ms Everard attended by the Duchess of Cambridge.
Today, Friday, July 9, her family were at the Old Bailey as he pleaded guilty to her murder through a video link from Belmarsh high security jail.
Prosecutor Tom Little QC said: “Before the defendant kidnapped Sarah Everard on the South Circular on March 3 this year, he had not previously met her, he did not know her and had no direct or indirect contact with her.
“They were total strangers to each other.”
Jim Sturman QC, defending, said: “His pleas today represents a truly guilty plea and remorse for what he did and, as he put it to us this morning, he will bear the burden for the rest of his life – his words: ‘as I deserve’.”
A two-day sentencing hearing is scheduled from September 29.
It can now be reported Couzens hired a Vauxhall Astra days before the murder.
A bus camera appeared to capture Ms Everard being intercepted by Couzens in Balham and then drove to Tilmanstone, near Deal, at 1am.
Investigators tracked the route using CCTV and ANPR cameras and identified the driver as an officer through the car hire firm.
In the days after, Couzens reported suffering from stress and did not want to carry a firearm any more.
He concocted an elaborate story, claiming financial difficulties and he was in trouble with a gang of Eastern Europeans who threatened him and his family.