Wayne Couzens Should Never Have Been A Police Officer

New allegations have surfaced against the man that killed Sarah Everard, and they're harrowing.

Sarah Everard protest

by Georgia Aspinall |
Published on

Wayne Couzens should never have been a police officer. That’s the conclusion of The Angiolini Inquiry after investigating how the off-duty Metropolitan police officer was able to abduct, rape and murder Sarah Everard. They say he allegedly committed a serious sexual assault against a child before becoming a police office and that police ‘repeatedly failed’ to spot warning signs about him.

In the harrowing report, Lady Elish Angiolini, the lawyer leading the inquiry, details Couzens’ distressing history of sexual offences. It highlights his liking for extreme, violent porn, repeated accusations of indecent exposure and sharing unsolicited photos of his genitals. The offence against a child, described as ‘barely in her teens’, happened nearly 20 years before Everard’s murder. Lady Elish also notes that there are allegations Couzens possessed indecent images of children.

Now, she’s calling for a radical overhaul of police vetting and recruitment. ‘Without a significant overhaul, there is nothing to stop another Couzens operating in plain sight,’ she said, urging ‘all those in authority in every police force in the country to read this report and take immediate action.’

In a heart-breaking statement from Sarah Everard's family, they said ‘We believe that Sarah died because he was a police officer. She would never have got into a stranger's car.’ The family say that warning signs were clearly ‘overlooked’ throughout Couzen’s 20-year-career.

Prior to Everard’s murder, Couzens was reported eight times for indecent exposure, three just days before he abducted the 33-year-old. Two of them were at a drive-through McDonalds in Swanley, Kent and despite driving his own car and using his own credit card, he was not caught. Kent Police have apologised for failing to properly investigate when Couzens.

‘The police officers who responded to those victims were not adequately trained, equipped or motivated to investigate the allegations properly,’ Lady Elish Angiolini, the lawyer leading the inquiry said.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley says that the report should be considered ‘an urgent call to action for all of us in policing’.

‘The majority of my Met colleagues share my determination to reform by both confronting the risk posed by predatory men in policing, and also, improving our protection of women and children across London,’ he said, but noted that the scale of change needed ‘will take time and it is not yet complete.’

Rightly, women everywhere are furious. The findings come three years after nationwide protests for change, how long will we be calling for action? How many new, heart-wrenching details need to emerge before things actually change? The wake-up call should've come and gone by now.

‘I'm not scared there's one more Wayne Couzens on the Metropolitan Police, I'm scared there's many, many of them,’ Jamie Klingler, founder of Reclaim These Streets, told the BBC.

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