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Sarah Everard: Serving Met Police officer appears in court charged with kidnap and murder

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Everard, a marketing executive, vanished after setting out to walk home from a friend's house in London on March 3.
Everard, a marketing executive, vanished after setting out to walk home from a friend's house in London on March 3.   -   Copyright  AFP PHOTO/METROPOLITAN POLICE
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A serving Metropolitan Police officer has appeared in court charged with the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old who disappeared as she walked home in south London.

Wayne Couzens, 48, was arrested on Tuesday after Everard, a marketing executive, vanished when walking home from a friend's house in London on March 3.

Authorities on Wednesday found her body in Ashford, Kent.

Couzens was remanded in custody and is set to appear again at the Old Bailey on March 16.

Everard's family described her as "bright and beautiful" in a statement released on Thursday evening as they awaited formal identification following the discovery of human remain in woodland in Kent the previous day.

"She was strong and principled and a shining example to us all. We are proud of her and she brought so much joy to our lives," they added, urging anyone with information to come forward.

Everard's disappearance sparked a public debate about women's safety.

Organisers of a vigil planned for Saturday in Clapham, where Everard was last seen, to commemorate her have announced it has been cancelled due to concerns over safety amid the COIVD pandemic.

"Scotland Yard would not engage with our suggestions to help ensure that a legal, COVID-secure vigil could take place," they wrote in a statement on Twitter.

The organisers of the vigil, named "Reclaim These Streets", had accused the police of trying to stop the socially distant event from going ahead and had taken their case to the High Court.

"I know that the public feel deeply hurt and angry and I speak on behalf of all my colleagues when I say that we too are horrified," Met Police Assistant Commissioner, Nick Ephgrabe, said on Friday.

"I understand that women in London and the wider public, particularly those in the area where Sarah went missing, will be worried and may well be feeling frightened,

"Londoners are likely to continue to see extra officers on the streets in the coming days," he went on.