UK

Key events in policing career of Wayne Couzens and the fallout of his crimes

He served in three forces before he murdered Sarah Everard.

An sketch of Wayne Couzens appearing by video link from HMP Frankland at the Old Bailey
Wayne Couzens An sketch of Wayne Couzens appearing by video link from HMP Frankland at the Old Bailey (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Wayne Couzens served in three police forces before he murdered Sarah Everard and was sentenced to die in prison.

Concerns were raised about his behaviour at various points before the killing, including when he exposed himself to women and his demeanour at work, with claims that he was nicknamed “the rapist”.

Here is a timeline of events concerning the former police officer.

– 2006: Couzens joins the Kent Special Constabulary.

– 2015: Kent Police allegedly fail to investigate an indecent exposure incident linked to Couzens.

– September 2018: Couzens transfers to the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) where he had worked since 2011.

– 2019: Couzens and his wife buy a small area of woodland off Fridd Lane in Ashford, Kent.

– February 2019: The Pc joins a response team covering the Bromley area of south London, having initially served in a Safer Neighbourhood Team.

– February 2020: He moves to the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command to patrol diplomatic premises, mainly embassies.

– November 13 2020: He steps out of a woodland area in Deal, Kent, naked and masturbates as a woman cycles past.

– February 14 and 27 2021: Couzens exposes himself to two female staff members at a drive-through fast food restaurant in Kent. He used his own credit card to pay and was driving his own car.

Sarah Everard was murdered in 2021
Wayne Couzens court case Sarah Everard was murdered in 2021 (Family Handout/PA)

– February 28 2021: Couzens books a white Vauxhall Astra from a car hire firm in Dover, Kent, using his personal details and bank card.

– March 2 2021: 7pm: Couzens starts a 12-hour shift at his base in West Brompton, west London.

– March 3 2021: Then-Met Pc Samantha Lee goes to the fast food restaurant but does not trace Couzens’ car, despite the restaurant manager claiming his registration number is visible in CCTV footage. She is later sacked and barred from working as a police officer.

Later that evening Couzens uses his status as a police officer to trick Miss Everard into thinking she can be arrested for breaking lockdown rules in place at the time. After murdering her, Couzens hides her body in woodland near Ashford in Kent.

– March 9 2021: Couzen’s phone is wiped of all data about 40 minutes before he is arrested on suspicion of murder. In a brief interview, he tells a false story about being threatened by an Eastern European gang.

– July 9 2021: Couzens pleads guilty to murder when he appears at the Old Bailey by video link from Belmarsh high security jail.

– September 30 2021: Couzens receives a whole life order when he is sentenced, with Lord Justice Fulford justifying the punishment because the murderer’s use of his position as a police officer to detain Ms Everard was the “vital factor”.

A court artist sketch of Lord Justice Fulford sentencing Wayne Couzens at the Old Bailey in London
Wayne Couzens court case A court artist sketch of Lord Justice Fulford sentencing Wayne Couzens at the Old Bailey in London (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

– October 2021: Couzens applies for leave to appeal against his sentence.

– November 2021: The Home Office establishes an independent inquiry led by Dame Elish Angiolini to look at Ms Everard’s murder, with the first part focusing on Couzens and whether any potential risks or red flags were missed during his time in the police.

– March 2022: Couzens is charged with four counts of indecent exposure over alleged incidents in January and February 2021.

– July 2022: The Court of Appeal rejects his appeal against his sentence.

– February 13 2023: Couzens pleads guilty to three counts of indecent exposure in Kent between November 2020 and February 2021.

– March 6 2023: He is sentenced to 19 months for the offences, although he is already serving a whole life jail term for Miss Everard’s murder and will never be released.

– March 21 2023: The Casey Review, commissioned by the Met in the wake of Miss Everard’s murder, finds that the force is institutionally racist, homophobic and misogynist, and that there may be more officers like Couzens and rapist David Carrick in its ranks.

– May 2023: Watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct calls for a national system to ensure all forces are told about criminal allegations made against serving officers, in light of the indecent exposure accusations against Couzens.

– February 29 2024: A report on the first part of the Angiolini Inquiry, looking at incidents during his career and whether red flags were missed, is published.