Sarah Everard: Woman arrested at vigil says her 'heart hurts' for murdered marketing executive and her family

Women will be able to regain trust in police 'only if they hold accountability for themselves and reform', warned Patsy Stevenson, who was arrested at a vigil for Sarah Everard.

Published

A woman arrested at the vigil for Sarah Everard said her “heart hurts” for the murdered 33-year-old, her family and friends.

Patsy Stevenson said she hopes people will continue talking about the violence women and girls face, as Wayne Couzens was handed a whole life sentence for kidnapping, raping and strangling Ms Everard.

Images of physics student Ms Stevenson being handcuffed and held down by two male officers sparked anger over Scotland Yard’s policing of the gathering following Ms Everard’s disappearance in south London.

She is currently involved in legal action against the Metropolitan Police over its actions at the March 13 vigil.

Ms Stevenson, 28, from Surrey, told the PA news agency: “The same as many women across the country, my heart hurts.

“I just can’t imagine what her loved ones are going through right now.

Patsy Stevenson, who was arrested at the vigil for Sarah Everard, lays a candle she was prevented from laying the first time around at Clapham Common, London, after former police officer Wayne Couzens was handed a whole life order for the kidnap, rape and murder of Ms Everard.
Patsy Stevenson, who was arrested at the vigil for Sarah Everard, lays a candle she was prevented from laying the first time around at Clapham Common, London, after former police officer Wayne Couzens was handed a whole life order for the kidnap, rape and murder of Ms Everard.

“It’s an absolutely disgusting crime, and I just think there is no justice in something like this, a whole life sentence is still not long enough.”

Women will be able to regain trust in Met officers “only if they hold accountability for themselves and reform”, she warned.

Asked if she backs calls for Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick to resign, she said: “I think now’s the time where she needs to either admit full accountability, and actually enact change, or just step down.”

On Thursday afternoon, Ms Stevenson returned to Clapham Common to light a candle to Ms Everard’s memory.

She appeared emotional as she left a candle on the steps of the park’s bandstand in south London, which she had been unable to leave earlier this year following her arrest.

Ms Stevenson stood in silent reflection for a few minutes, after other members of the public had left a series of flowers and cards at the site.

Ms Stevenson said Sisters Uncut, a feminist campaign group which attended the vigil, is organising training on how people can intervene if they see police carrying out stop-and-searches, and on knowing their rights.

She said: “The fact that activists are having to do that, just to make sure that women are safe, is just appalling.

“We should be trusting in our police to make lawful arrests and that’s just not happening.”