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Sarah Everard homicide: The 4 questions the police nonetheless have to reply about Wayne Couzens | UK Information

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Wayne Couzens has joined the comparatively small group of killers within the UK who will die behind bars for his or her crimes.

A courtroom heard how the then Met Police officer falsely arrested Sarah Everard for breaching coronavirus rules to get her into his automobile, rape and homicide her.

Sentencing the 48-year-old, Lord Justice Fulford stated the abuse of his “distinctive place” as a policeman was a “very important issue” in giving him a whole-life tariff.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has resisted calls to resign and stated she is going to “do everything in her power to make sure any classes are discovered”.

However as Couzens begins his life sentence, there are nonetheless key questions that remained unanswered.

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Earlier than he murdered Ms Everard, he was topic to 3 separate allegations of indecent publicity – one whereas he serving with a distinct pressure in 2015 and two simply weeks earlier than his crimes.

The Impartial Workplace for Police Conduct (IOPC) remains to be investigating the potential failure of the Met and Kent Police to correctly examine these allegations.

Extra on Metropolitan Police

Right here Sky Information seems on the key questions on Wayne Couzens and the police which are but to be answered.

Timeline of Wayne Couzens’ police profession

2005-2009: Works as particular (volunteer) officer for Kent Police

March 2011: Joins Civil Nuclear Constabulary serving at Sellafield, Cumbria and Dungeness, Kent

June 2015: Alleged incident of indecent publicity in Dover, Kent

September 2018: Joins Met Police

February 2019: Joins response workforce in Bromley, south London

February 2020: Joins Parliamentary and Diplomatic Safety Command

28 February 2021: Two allegations of indecent publicity at a McDonald’s in south London

3 March 2021: Abducts Sarah Everard in Clapham, south London

9 March 2021: Arrested on suspicion of Ms Everard’s homicide

10 March 2021: Ms Everard’s physique present in Kent

12 March 2021: Charged with Ms Everard’s kidnap, rape and homicide

9 July 2021: Pleads responsible to homicide

30 September 2021: Sentenced to whole-life sentence

1. Was he nicknamed ‘the rapist’ and why?

Couzens first grew to become concerned with the police in 2005, when he joined the Kent pressure as a particular (volunteer) constable.

However his plea listening to on the {Old} Bailey in July heard that he was concerned in an “incident” of a sexual nature in 2002.

Police forces are obliged to hold out thorough vetting and background checks on particular constables, however it’s unclear in the event that they have been made conscious of this “incident”.

In March 2011, Couzens joined the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC), which noticed him stationed as an armed safety officer at a nuclear facility in Sellafield, Cumbria and Dungeness in Kent.

Wayne Couzens is proven an image of Sarah Everard while being questioned by police.

The {Old} Bailey was informed that his CNC colleagues knew he was “drawn to violent pornography”, with The Solar reporting he was given the nickname “the rapist”.

Met Police assistant commissioner Nick Ephgrave stated the pressure “refutes” he was ever referred to by that identify, including: “That isn’t one thing that was made conscious to us”.

Graham Wettone, who retired as a Met Police sergeant in 2010, stated he had by no means heard of a such a regarding nickname in his 30 years of service.

“I’ve by no means heard a nickname like that earlier than,” he stated.

“Why would you name any person that? And in a police atmosphere? It raises alarm bells.”

Former DCI Simon Harding, a senior investigator on the Sarah Everard case, informed Sky Information that the nickname was not broadly utilized by colleagues and “lots of people did not discover he was this particular person”.

However Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Tom Winsor has expressed considerations about an alleged “tradition of colleague safety” inside the police.

“In too many respects, there may be proof of cops who grow to be conscious of damaging or worrying traits in cops of not reporting them, not placing up a warning flag and that should change,” he informed the BBC.

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2. Did Kent Police examine him totally for indecent publicity in 2015?

In June 2015 a fellow driver in Dover, Kent, reported Couzens to police over claims he noticed him driving bare from the waist down.

The IOPC is investigating Kent Police over alleged failures to look into the report correctly.

The watchdog stated in July that thus far no misconduct notices have been served on any Kent Law enforcement officials in relation to their investigation.

The Met police says they’re now conscious of a Kent Police investigation during which no additional motion was taken – however didn’t find out about it on the time they employed him.

Sky Information has contacted Kent Police for remark.

Undated family handout photo of Sarah Everard issued by the Crown Prosecution Service. Former Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, will appear at the Old Bailey in London, on the first day of a two-day sentence hearing after pleading guilty to the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard. Issue date: Wednesday September 29, 2021.
Household picture of Sarah Everard

3. Did the Met Police vet him correctly?

Couzens joined the Met in September 2018 after a number of years with the Civil Nuclear Constabulary.

The CNC is a police pressure of round 1,500 officers used to guard nuclear websites across the UK.

Though they’re skilled firearm employees and have the identical powers as common cops, they’re solely allowed to make use of them in relation to nuclear supplies.

“The CNC are armed safety guards at nuclear services. They do not take care of police incidents – so they are not deemed to be absolutely skilled,” Mr Wettone stated.

“To hitch the Met, he would have needed to do the identical fundamental coaching as a brand new officer.”

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Residence Secretary Priti Patel says Met has ‘severe inquiries to reply’

But it surely has been reported Couzens didn’t full the Met’s necessary two-year probation interval earlier than becoming a member of the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Safety Command – the place he labored patrolling international embassy buildings.

It has additionally been alleged that he didn’t endure the superior vetting required for the diplomatic unit.

Former Detective Chief Inspector Clive Driscoll, who labored as a senior investigator on the Stephen Lawrence case, informed Sky Information there must be an unbiased inquiry into police vetting in mild of Couzens’ case.

“The police must be open and clear about this, it is of their curiosity to have a radical, unbiased inquiry, as a result of this has broken confidence within the police”, he stated.

A Met Police spokesman informed Sky Information there was “no info obtainable to the Met on the time that may have modified their vetting resolution”.

This means police in London weren’t conscious of the 2015 indecent publicity allegation in Kent – both by their very own background checks or his former employers on the CNC.

Sky News speaks to an officer who worked on Sarah Everard’s case about what happened the night she was murdered by Wayne Couzens.
A lacking individuals poster for Sarah Everard

“He could have been in a position to bypass the system realizing {that a} third-party pressure have been investigating,” stated former sergeant Mr Wettone.

Mr Driscoll added: “We have to take a look at company intelligence.

“It is a part of the recruitment course of to be requested when you’ve ever been investigated for something, not simply when you’ve really been served a misconduct discover.

“If somebody applies to the Met from one other pressure, it must be like somebody becoming a member of for the primary time,” the previous DCI stated.

Each former investigators stated the federal government’s drive to recruit 20,000 new cops by 2023 may have resulted in issues being missed throughout background checks.

“That recruitment drive can have meant vetting may have been rushed by – it isn’t simply the Met, it is Kent as nicely,” Mr Driscoll stated.

Mr Wettone added that whereas the vetting system is not “excellent”, it must be improved.

4. Did the Met correctly examine an indecent publicity weeks earlier than the homicide?

Two allegations have been made towards Couzens claiming he uncovered himself in a McDonald’s restaurant in south London on 28 February – simply two weeks earlier than he kidnapped Ms Everard.

The IOPC remains to be investigating whether or not the Met failed to research these reviews, with two of its officers being probed for breaching skilled requirements at misconduct stage.

Couzens was not arrested and a Met Police spokesman informed Sky Information he “was not topic to any misconduct proceedings” at any time.

He was not suspended, as he labored a 12-hour shift on the US embassy the day earlier than he kidnapped Ms Everard.

If he had been suspended, officers are normally placed on restricted duties, which imply they aren’t allowed to have contact with public or carry a firearm.

In Couzens’ position on the embassy, he was allowed to do each.

Though the police might need failed to research Couzens, Mr Wettone doesn’t suppose it might have stopped him murdering Ms Everard.

Wayne Couzens pleaded guilty to the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard
Couzens pictured in his police mugshot

“Two weeks is a really brief house of time,” he stated.

“I can not consider a single case the place somebody has uncovered themselves then two weeks later kidnapped, murdered and raped somebody.

“Indecent publicity is not a severe prison offence, so if he was arrested, there was a 99% probability he would have been bailed and again out on the streets.

“As a serving officer, you would be suspended or placed on restricted duties, however you would not be sacked.

“There could have been missed alternatives, however would it not have modified the end result? I do not suppose so, essentially.”

In an announcement the IOPC stated it couldn’t present updates on its investigations linked to Couzens as they’re nonetheless ongoing.

“We’ll look to convey these issues to a conclusion as swiftly as attainable,” a spokesperson stated.

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Former DCI Simon Harding explains how Couzens falsely arrested Sarah Everard

Responding to Sky Information’ questions, a spokesperson for the Met stated: “Wayne Couzens was vetted in accordance along with his position.

“Following his arrest, a evaluation confirmed he handed vetting processes. The checks confirmed there was no info obtainable to the Met on the time that may have modified the vetting resolution.

“Couzens was not topic to any misconduct proceedings throughout his time on the Met.”

Different investigations

Away from Couzens himself, the watchdog can be investigating plenty of officers from the Met, his {old} pressure the CNC, and Norfolk Constabulary for alleged misconduct through the Sarah Everard investigation.

Three probationary Met Law enforcement officials have been investigated for “sharing an inappropriate graphic, depicting violence towards ladies, with colleagues through WhatsApp”.

They have been off responsibility on the time, however one later manned a cordon through the seek for Ms Everard’s physique.

The IOPC will take motion sooner or later, it stated.

Sarah Everard's body was found in woodland in Ashford, Kent
Ms Everard’s physique was present in woodland in Ashford, Kent

Individually three Met officers, one former Met officer, one CNC officer and one Norfolk Constabulary officer are being investigated for “allegedly sending discriminatory messages as a part of a WhatsApp group” between March and October 2019.

These messages have been found through the Sarah Everard homicide investigation.

They’re being investigated for gross misconduct and the three Met officers are additionally being criminally investigated underneath the Communications Act.

Police officers conduct searches after Sarah Everard's body was found in woodland in Ashford, Kent
Law enforcement officials conduct searches after Sarah Everard’s physique was present in woodland in Ashford, Kent

Seven officers are additionally being investigated for gross misconduct after it was alleged one shared particulars of Couzens’ police interview that have been later offered in courtroom.

A call on what motion must be taken is but to be made.

Lastly, the IOPC investigated how Couzens sustained head accidents on the ten and 12 March whereas in custody after being arrested on suspicion of homicide.

The watchdog established the accidents have been self-inflicted, with the {Old} Bailey listening to he had hit his personal head on the bathroom in his cell.

“Appropriate insurance policies and procedures have been adopted and we didn’t determine any conduct or studying points for the Met,” an IOPC assertion stated.

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