Sarah Everard: London officer pleads guilty to murder of marketing executive

Wayne Couzens, a serving police constable whose “primary role was uniformed patrol duties of diplomatic premises,” had pleaded guilty to Everard’s kidnap and rape in June.

The Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement that he had now admitted a charge of murder at the Old Bailey court and would be sentenced at a later date.

Everard, 33, went missing on March 3 after leaving a friend’s house in Clapham, south London, in the early evening. Her body was found on 10 March inside a builder’s bag in woodland near Ashford, Kent, more than 50 miles from where she was last seen.

Couzens had been arrested a day earlier at his nearby home in Kent, on suspicion of kidnap. He was later arrested on suspicion of murder.

Five members of Everard’s family were in the London courtroom as Couzens appeared by video link from Belmarsh high security prison to make his plea, according to PA News.

Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick was also present, PA reported.

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“Couzens lied to the police when he was arrested and to date, he has refused to comment. We still do not know what drove him to commit this appalling crime against a stranger,” said Carolyn Oakley, CPS specialist prosecutor.

“Today is not the day for hearing the facts about what happened to Sarah. Today is a day to remember Sarah and our thoughts remain with her family and friends.”

Oakley described Couzens’ guilty plea as the result of “a great deal of hard work” by the prosecution team. She added that police “should be commended for their thorough and tireless investigation into Sarah’s disappearance.”

Police were criticized in March for their heavy-handed response to a vigil held to remember Everard and highlight the issue of women’s safety.

Her disappearance prompted thousands of women to share their own experiences of intimidation or harassment while walking alone at night in British cities and around the world.

Many also exchanged notes on the habitual precautions they take to try to stay safe when they walk alone — and voiced their anger and frustration that this feels necessary.