Sept. 29 (UPI) — A former London police officer who pleaded guilty to murdering Sarah Everard in March falsely arrested her before abducting, raping and killing her, a British court heard Wednesday.
During a sentencing hearing, prosecutors screened CCTV footage that showed Wayne Couzens, 48, a former Metropolitan police officer, pretending to arrest Everard as she walked home from visiting a friend.
Prosecutor Tom Little said Couzens arrested Everard on the pretext that she was breaking COVID-19 lockdown measures. He handcuffed her, put her in his car and “that was the start of her lengthy ordeal, including an 80-mile journey [to Kent] whilst detained which was to lead first to rape and then her murder,” Little said in court, according to The Guardian.
“At some point fairly soon after driving from the pavement on to the South Circular and having not gone to a police station, Sarah Everard must have realized her fate.”
BBC News reported that Couzens worked on pandemic-related patrols in January and thus would have been familiar with the appropriate terms to use in his arrest of Everard.
Little said a passing couple observed Everard’s abduction but assumed she “must have done something wrong.”
Couzens pleaded guilty in July to abducting and killing Everard, a marketing executive who disappeared in March and whose body was later found in a wooded area near Ashford in Kent. After strangling her with his police belt, prosecutors said he burned her body.
Couzens faces up to life in prison.