PC Wayne Couzens, 48, has this morning admitted in front of Sarah Everard’s family that he had kidnapped and raped her, and was responsible for her death.
The serving Metropolitan Police officer told the hushed Old Bailey, watched by the young woman’s grieving father and sister, that he was guilty of abduction and a later sex attack on the 33-year-old.
A third count of murder was not put to him while medical reports are still pending. Couzens is due to return to court next month on July 9.
Sarah was snatched from the street as she was walking home from a friend’s house towards Brixton on March 3.
The marketing assistant, who grew up in York and lived in Brixton, was seen on a doorbell camera at around 9pm walking along Poynders Road towards Tulse Hill.
CCTV caught her alone at quarter past nine and again at 9.28pm, before she was seen on the camera of a marked police car at 9.32pm.
Then at around 9.35pm, a bus camera captured two figures on the road and a white Vauxhall Astra with its hazard lights flashing.
Footage from another bus caught the same car with both front doors open.
Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, went missing as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham, South London, on March 3
Serving Met Police officer Wayne Couzens (above), 48, from Deal, Kent, had been charged with the kidnap and murder of Miss Everard. Today he admitted he kidnapped and raped her.
Sarah’s family leave the Old Bailey today after hearing Couzens make his two guilty pleas. Her father Jeremy is seen on the left, with her sister Katie can be seen on the right.
Couzens as he served as a police officer before transferring to the Met Police elite unit
A number of areas were searched in Clapham as police tried to look for missing Sarah
The vehicle was later confirmed to have been hired from Dover after police caught its registration number and traced it as it left London for Kent.
A major Metropolitan Police investigation was launched and her body was found a week later in woodland in Kent.
Couzens had not been due before court until next month but appeared this morning at the Old Bailey via videolink.
His lawyer Jim Sturman QC said: ‘Responsibility for the killing is also admitted.’
During the videolink Couzens sat with his head bowed, only repeating ‘guilty sir’ when charges were put to him.
Sarah’s family were in court for the 20-minute hearing and saw him make his pleas
Wayne Couzens seen in a court sketch during a previous hearing relating to the case
There was a huge search for Sarah Everard after she went missing after visiting a friend
CCTV footage of Sarah Everard captured earlier on the night she was kidnapped in March
An handout photo made available by the Metropolitan Police of Sarah Everard
Wayne Couzens admitted the kidnap and rape of Sarah and takes responsibility for her death
Sarah’s death prompted a vigil in her memory to be held in London near where she vanished
Police officers clash with people as they form a gathering in Clapham Common, South London, after the Reclaim These Streets vigil for Sarah Everard was officially cancelled on March 13
The disappearance of Sarah Everard and Wayne Couzens’ arrest
March 3: Sarah disappeared after leaving a friend’s home in Clapham at around 9pm. She leaves out of her friend’s back gate and speaks to her boyfriend on the phone for 15 minutes.
March 5: Sarah’s family share missing posters of her after they become increasingly concerned that she is still not home, spreading the word online with links to the Missing People charity.
March 6: Met Police release an appeal, saying Sarah was thought to have walked through Clapham Common, heading towards Brixton home, a journey of 50 minutes. They say they are not certain she ever arrived home.
March 7: Police release footage of Ms Everard and say she was walking alone on A205 Poynders Road towards Tulse Hill when she was last seen on CCTV, which has not been released to the police.
March 8: Specialist officers are drafted and 120 calls from public come in. A door-to-door operation sees police speak to 750 families.
March 9: Police search gardens near Ms Everard’s route and nearby Oaklands Estate.
Officers also search a pond in Clapham Common and drains along the A205.
11.59pm: Met police officer Wayne Couzens arrested in Kent on suspicion of kidnap.
Lord Justice Adrian Falford said: ‘The defendant has pleaded guilty today to counts one and two of the indictment, the kidnap of Sarah Everard and the rape of Sarah Everard.
‘Count three, the count of murder, has not been put to the defendant because medical reports are awaited in relation to that allegation – although the defendant accepts responsibility for the killing.’
Her body was found hidden in an area of woodland in Ashford, Kent, inside a large builder’s bag and was formally identified through her dental records.
He will return to court next month on July 9 when he is expected to answer the murder charge.
A provisional date for his murder trial is still set for October.
Couzens is a member of the elite Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection squad – a role that entitled him to carry a firearm and a Metropolitan Police warrant card.
Formed in 2015, the unit is responsible for the protection of government owned buildings and embassies as well as ministers and visiting heads of state.
As part of his armed duties protecting MPs and dignitaries, Couzens has provided static security for major public events attended by senior members of the Royal Family.
All police recruits undergo careful vetting to check whether they have a criminal record when they join the force.
To be accepted into the elite Westminster armed unit, officers must face rigorous tests and firearms training.
Scotland Yard has referred itself to the police watchdog over the arrest of its own officer and separately over the force’s actions after Sarah was reported missing.
It was previously revealed she spent a quarter of an hour on the phone making plans to see her boyfriend Josh Lowth the following day, before her mobile was either switched off or ran out of battery.
Mr Lowth, 33, whose LinkedIn says he is Marketing Director at MA Exhibitions, later raised the alarm to police when she failed to meet him as she had arranged, her aunt confirmed.
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