Wayne Couzens, 48, was a serving Met Police officer when he snatched Sarah Everard, 33, as she walked home and murdered her in March. His sentencing is due to conclude tomorrow
A former police officer who kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard will return to the Old Bailey to learn if he will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Wayne Couzens, 48, was a serving PC with the Metropolitan Police when he snatched Ms Everard as she walked home in Clapham, south London, on the evening of March 3.
The sexual predator, who had clocked off from a 12-hour shift that morning, went on to rape and strangle the 33-year-old marketing executive.
A week after she disappeared, Ms Everard’s body was found in a woodland stream in Ashford, Kent, just metres from land owned by Couzens.
The firearms-trained parliamentary and diplomatic protection officer wiped his phone just minutes before he was arrested at his home in Deal, Kent, on March 9.
The killing prompted national outrage and sparked protests at the rate of violence against women.
In July, Couzens pleaded guilty to Ms Everard’s murder, kidnap and rape by video link from jail.
Today, he will come face-to-face with his victim’s family when he is brought into the dock of the Old Bailey for the start of his sentencing.
Prosecutor Tom Little QC will open the case, revealing more information about how Ms Everard met her death and how police tracked down the culprit.
Couzens’ lawyer Jim Sturman QC is then expected to offer mitigation on behalf of the defendant.
Before handing down his sentence on Thursday, Lord Justice Fulford will consider a whole life order, which could mean Couzens may never be released from prison.
Speaking outside the Old Bailey in July, Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said she was “very sorry” for the loss, pain and suffering of the Everard family.
She said: “All of us in the Met are sickened, angered and devastated by this man’s truly dreadful crimes. Everyone in policing feels betrayed.”
The police watchdog has received a string of referrals relating to the Couzens case, with 12 police officers being investigated.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it was looking at whether the Met failed to investigate two allegations of indecent exposure relating to Couzens in February, just days before the killing.
Kent Police are also being investigated over their response to a third allegation of indecent exposure dating back to 2015.
The case has prompted renewed concern about police recruitment checks and why Couzens continued to hold a warrant card, despite the allegations of sexual offences.
Scotland Yard has said there was no information available at the time that would have altered the vetting decision in his case.