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UK cop arrested, raped, murdered woman on false charges: Court told

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Sarah Everard was strangled and then set on fire, with her remains found in the woodland.

London:

A serving British police officer kidnapped a woman as she walked home, handcuffed her in false arrest for breaking coronavirus restrictions, before raping and murdering her, a court was told on Wednesday. .

The disappearance of Sarah Everard during a national lockdown in March was one of Britain’s most high-profile missing person investigations and sparked protests and debates about women’s safety on the streets.

Wayne Couzens, 48, who works with the elite diplomatic security unit of the London Metropolitan Police, confessed to his abduction, rape and murder in July.

Everard, who had gone to visit a friend in Clapham, south London, was strangled to death, then set on fire, with his remains found in woodland.

At a two-day sentencing hearing, prosecutor Tom Little said Couzense targeted the 33-year-old marketing executive on March 3 and accused him of breaking coronavirus rules.

The off-duty Coozens kidnapped Everard in a “false arrest” by “handcuffing him and showing his warrant card”, he said.

Security camera footage shows him holding his warrant card and then handcuffing Everard before putting him in a rented car.

The lawyer said a couple driving past in a car also saw it, and assumed that an undercover police officer was making the arrest.

But he said Couzens took advantage of his knowledge and experience of police patrols enforcing lockdown restrictions and knew what language to use.

He said an ex-boyfriend had provided evidence that Everard was “savvy and street-going” and did not get into a car with a stranger other than by “force or manipulation”.

Couzens sat down on the dock in London’s Old Bailey, watched by members of Everard’s family, as the judge considered whether to give him a life sentence.

The sentence was to be announced on Thursday.

Ahead of the hearing, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement: “We are sick, outraged and devastated by the crimes of this man, who betrayed everything we did.”

The force has dismissed the officer, saying his actions “raised many questions and concerns” but it would not comment further until after the sentencing.

Protesters outside the court raised slogans criticizing the police such as “Police blood on your hands” and let out smoke.

The government has vowed to reform the law after widespread anger over the lack of women’s safety in public places following Everard’s murder.

In July, the Interior Ministry said it would increase the current low number of criminals brought to justice for crimes including rape, domestic abuse, stalking and sexual assault and work with police to “more effectively respond to street harassment.” “will work for

In yet another high-profile case, primary school teacher Sabina Nessa was murdered earlier this month as she walked through a London park to visit a friend.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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