Wayne Couzens pleads guilty to murder in Sarah Everard case

Wayne Couzens was arrested and charged with Sarah Everard's murder earlier this year

Flowers surround the Clapham Common bandstand memorial to murdered Sarah Everard on March 27, 2021 in London
(Image credit: Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Metropolitan Police Constable Wayne Couzens has pleaded guilty to murdering Sarah Everard in a hearing at the Old Bailey on July 9th. 

This comes after the serving policeman admitted to Sarah's kidnap and rape in a previous hearing. Sarah Everard disappeared while walking home from Clapham to Brixton, London, on 3rd March 2020. It was later discovered that Sarah had been kidnapped and murdered and it was soon reported that a police officer had been arrested and charged with the crime. Appearing before the court on Friday via video link from Belmarsh Prison, Couzens was asked how he would plead to the count of murder.

As reported by The Guardian, Couzens replied, “Guilty”, before being asked to clarify by the clerk that he was pleading guilty to Sarah’s murder, to which he answered, “Yes”. The hearing is understood to have been attended by both Sarah Everard’s family and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick. 

People gather to lay flowers and pay their respects at a vigil on Clapham Common, where floral tributes have been placed for Sarah Everard on March 13, 2021 in London, England

(Image credit: Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Sarah Everard was reported missing on March 4th, 2020 by her partner when she never arrived home after leaving a friend’s house in Clapham, South London. Having set out that night to walk back to Brixton, the 33-year-old marketing executive’s body was recovered a week later in woodland near Ashford, Kent, in close proximity to land owned by Couzens. Sarah was found wrapped in a builder’s bag and identified by her dental records.  

Couzens, a trained firearms officer, joined the Met Police in 2018 and was assigned to the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection unit. According to ITV.com, Couzens hired a Vauxhall Astra and bought a roll of self-adhesive film in the days leading up to Sarah’s abduction and murder. 

Footage from the camera of a passing bus appeared to capture the moment Sarah was intercepted by Couzens that night, with the hire car caught on film with its hazard lights flashing and two figures standing beside it. This then led police to the rental company who provided them with the details of the person renting the vehicle. 

Floral tributes and a poster saying 'for Sarah' are placed in tribute to Sarah Everard on Clapham Common on March 15, 2021

(Image credit: Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Wayne Couzens was arrested at his home in Kent on March 9, just 5 days after Sarah was first reported missing, on suspicion of kidnap. Whilst in police custody the following day, it was reported that he had been also been arrested on suspicion of Sarah’s murder. Couzens was then charged with the horrific crime on March 12, after making no comment in a formal interview. 

Sarah’s disappearance in March started a movement that promoted safety for women on the streets and addressed violence against women. Following news of her death, doorstep candlelit vigils were held across Britain in her memory and that of all women affected by violence. 

Whilst many people laid notes and flowers at Clapham’s bandstand in her honor, including the Duchess of Cambridge, who also sent a heartfelt letter to the family of Sarah Everard. Though the vigils were largely peaceful, a parliamentary committee has recently found that the police used 'excessive force' on those paying their respects at the vigil for Sarah Everard in Clapham.

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The movement Reclaim These Streets began soon after Sarah’s disappearance and was spearheaded by those who wanted to make the streets safer for women. They organized the vigil in Clapham and have also raised a huge amount of money on behalf of Sarah

Speaking out about her back in March, Sarah’s family reflected on her warmth and kind-heartedness, stating: “She was kind and thoughtful, caring and dependable. She always put others first and had the most amazing sense of humor.

"She was strong and principled and a shining example to us all. We are very proud of her and she brought so much joy to our lives."

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with seven years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.