Sarah Everard: Wayne Couzens attracted to brutal porn, court told

Sarah Everard's killer, Wayne Couzens, was “attracted to brutal sexual pornography”, a court has heard.

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The police officer who kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard was “attracted to brutal sexual pornography”, a court has heard.

Wayne Couzens, 48, wore his police belt with handcuffs and a rectangular black pouch, similar to a pepper spray holder, attached to it when he snatched the 33-year-old marketing executive on March 3.

Two people had earlier seen him wearing the kit and when asked about the equipment in a computer hardware shop, he joked he was into “kinky stuff”, before telling the owner: “I am an undercover police officer.”

In late January this year, Couzens worked with other officers on uniformed Covid patrols, enforcing coronavirus lockdown regulations.

The mother of Sarah Everard has told a court she is "tormented" at the thought of what her daughter endured.
The mother of Sarah Everard has told a court she is "tormented" at the thought of what her daughter endured.

“He was therefore aware of the regulations and what language to use to those who may have breached them,” prosecutor Tom Little QC told Couzens’s sentencing hearing at the Old Bailey on Wednesday.

Mr Little said the officer is believed to have used his warrant card to detain Ms Everard “by fraud” before handcuffing her in a “false arrest” after “hunting” for a lone female victim.

Couzens used to work at his father’s garage in Dover before joining the Kent Special Constabulary at some point after 2002.

The court heard a colleague in that year spoke of “his attraction to brutal sexual pornography” but Jim Sturman QC, defending, said it related to a single incident “which is almost impossible to examine now”.

Couzens joined the Civil Nuclear Constabulary in 2011 before transferring to the Met in 2018. Two years later he began working for the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command as an authorised firearms officer at diplomatic premises around central London.

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Wayne Couzens, making his first appearance at the Old Bailey by video link from Belmarsh top security jail in south London.
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Wayne Couzens, making his first appearance at the Old Bailey by video link from Belmarsh top security jail in south London.

He was not able to carry a gun after damaging a finger in a drilling injury in July last year and carried out office-based work in late 2020, but was assessed as being fit for full duties in December.

Couzens was sacked by the Met after he pleaded guilty to murder, rape and kidnap.

The police watchdog previously said an investigation is under way into alleged failures by Kent Police to investigate a flashing incident linked to Couzens in 2015.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is also probing alleged failures by the Metropolitan Police to investigate two indecent exposure incidents linked to Couzens in London in February this year.

The married father-of-two was described as a “family man” by colleagues in the force, who were said to have noticed nothing unusual about his behaviour.

But he had set up a profile on dating website match.com on December 2 last year, using his middle name “Antony”, giving a false date of birth, and claiming that he was separated, had no children and lived in Canterbury.

People in the crowd turned on their phone torches as they gathered in Clapham Common, London, for a vigil for Sarah Everard.
People in the crowd turned on their phone torches as they gathered in Clapham Common, London, for a vigil for Sarah Everard.

He was also in contact with an escort with the username “escourtbabygirl”, the court heard.

Couzens was in debt to the tune of £29,000, using short-term payday loans, and was in a dispute with the Met over his pay scale.

He had worked a 12-hour overnight shift at the American Embassy, south-west London, on the day he kidnapped Ms Everard, which was the start of five rest days.

During the shift, Couzens had talked about leaving the Met over the pay dispute and said he might go off sick with stress.

After the murder, he emailed his supervisor to say “I feel unable to carry firearms” and called in sick to a training day when he was due to return to work on March 8.

He instead drove to London to return the items he had used to kidnap Ms Everard to his police locker at his base.