UK police officer admits to raping and kidnapping Sarah Everard

Wayne Couzens, 48, also accepts responsibility for the death of Everard during a hearing at the Old Bailey.

A British police officer has pleaded guilty to kidnapping and raping Sarah Everard, whose killing shook the United Kingdom and led to a debate about male violence against women.

A court at London’s Old Bailey on Tuesday heard that Wayne Couzens, 48, also accepted responsibility for the death of Everard.

Couzens, who appeared by video link from Belmarsh prison, did not enter a plea on the charge of murder, however.

Everard, 33, was abducted as she walked home from a friend’s house in south London on March 3.

Her body was later found in woodland about 80km (50 miles) away in southeast England.

Everard’s relatives sat in the court on Tuesday as Couzens entered his pleas.

Medical reports about the Metropolitan Police officer are currently being prepared and a further hearing before the judge, Adrian Fulford, will take place on July 9.

A postmortem concluded earlier this month that Everard died as a result of compression of the neck.

National outcry

Everard’s death saw outpourings of anger from women who later recounted their experiences of being threatened or attacked.

The outcry peaked during an unauthorised vigil on Clapham Common on March 14 that had been banned because of the coronavirus restrictions.

During the gathering, Metropolitan Police officers grabbed hold of several women and pulled them away in handcuffs to screaming and shouting from onlookers.

The actions of the police were widely condemned, but an independent watchdog later cleared the London forces of wrongdoing.

Couzens joined ranks in 2018 and had most recently served in the parliamentary and diplomatic protection command, an armed unit responsible for guarding embassies in the capital and Parliament.

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