Content warning: This article contains details of Sarah Everard’s case which some readers may find distressing.
Serving Metropolitan Police constable Wayne Couzens, 48, is charged with kidnapping and killing Sarah Everard. The 33-year-old marketing executive went missing while walking home from a friend’s flat in south London on 3 March.
Everard’s body was found inside a large builder’s bag in Ashford, Kent on Wednesday 10 March, a court has heard.
Couzens appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on the morning of Saturday 13 March. It was his first court appearance following his arrest on Tuesday.
The defendant arrived at the central London court at 10am in a large blue police van, stepping into the dock around 10.30am.
Couzens spoke only to confirm his name and personal details. He sat between two plain-clothes officers in the dock, leaning forward for most of the hearing.
Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring asked prosecutor Zoe Martin to give a brief summary “given the nature of the case and the interest”. The court heard the officer is accused of kidnapping Everard in the Poynders Road area of Clapham.
Martin said Everard was reported missing by her boyfriend on 4 March. And that a body found on 10 March had been formally identified as Everard using dental records. The body was hidden in a wooded area of Ashford, Kent.
A post-mortem examination has taken place but no cause of death was given in court.
The prosecutor said Everard had visited a friend in the Clapham Junction area on 3 March. She left at around 9pm to make the approximately 2.5-mile journey home.
She called her boyfriend for around 14 minutes. The court heard that there’s been no further activity on her mobile phone since then. And the phone has not yet been recovered. It’s not clear whether the phone had been switched off or run out of battery, Martin added.
Everard was caught alone on CCTV at quarter past nine and caught again on a camera at 9.28pm. She was later caught on the camera of a marked police car at 9.32pm.
At around 9.35pm, a bus camera captured two figures on Poynders Road and a white Vauxhall Astra with its hazard lights flashing. Another bus camera captured the same car with both front doors open.
The registration of the vehicle was captured and tracked by police as it left London towards Kent. It was later confirmed to be a car hired in Dover.
Timeline for Couzens
Judge Goldspring remanded Couzens in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on 16 March.
The Metropolitan Police previously said Couzens joined the force in 2018. He most recently served in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, an armed unit responsible for guarding the Parliamentary estate and embassies in London.
His main job was uniformed patrol of diplomatic buildings. And Scotland Yard said he wasn’t on duty at the time of Everard’s disappearance.
On Saturday, the court heard Couzens is a trained firearms officer.
On 2 March he began a 12-hour shift at 7pm before going on leave.
He was due back at work on 8 March, but on 5 March he reported that he was suffering from stress.
On 6 March he emailed his supervisor to say he did not want to carry a firearm anymore.
Meanwhile, police in dry suits were seen continuing to search around the area where Everard’s body was found near Ashford on Saturday.
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