The Sarah Everard Case is ‘Harrowing’ and is Part of ‘Epidemic’ of Male Violence, Says UK Barrister
14:46 GMT 30.09.2021 (Updated: 15:16 GMT 28.05.2023)
Former Metropolitan Police Officer PC Wayne Couzens has been given a whole life sentence for kidnapping, raping and murdering Sarah Everard. The case triggered huge protests by women’s groups who believe more should be done to tackle an “epidemic” of male violence.
will die in prison after being sentenced to a whole life term by a judge at the Old Bailey for abducting, raping and murdering Sarah Everard after carrying out a fake arrest on the grounds of breaching Covid-19 laws.
Sarah vanished on 3 March as she walked home from a friend's house in south London. Her body was later found 80 miles away, burned and dumped in a pond in woods in Kent.
Charlotte Proudman, a barrister who specialises in violence against women and girls, said: “I don’t think this case is a one-off. It’s one of the most harrowing cases ever, especially because it was a police officer who abducted and raped a woman who was just going about her normal business.”
But she said the recent murder of Sabina Nessa
had highlighted the dangers for women and she told Sputnik: “A woman is murdered every three days in this country by a man. That is staggering. It’s an epidemic.”
Ms Proudman said male violence towards women, whether it was within relationships or as strangers, was “insidious and corrosive.”
She said: “It’s not a small minority of men either. Around 1.6 million incidents of domestic abuse are reported every year. That is an enormous number.”
Miles Manning, a retired detective sergeant in the Metropolitan Police, described Couzens as an “abomination” and said: “I don’t know a single cop that doesn’t think he should spent the rest of his miserable life in jail.”
Mr Manning told Sputnik: “The job is hard enough without the likes of this creature making every arrest by a plain clothes officer a massive problem.”
Couzens, 48, will join 73 other inmates who are serving whole life sentences in British prisons. They include serial killer Rose West and MP Jo Cox’s assassin, Thomas Mair.
It is not known where he will spend his sentence but in view of the heinous nature of the crime and the fact that he is a former police officer, it is expected Couzens will spend much of his time in isolation and, also on suicide watch.
Couzens showed Sarah his Metropolitan Police warrant card, pretended he was arresting her for breaching Covid laws, cuffed her hands behind her back and put her in the back of the hire car before taking her to Kent, raping and murdering her.
The Everard family issued a statement on Thursday in which they said: “Sarah lost her life needlessly and cruelly and all the years of life she had yet to enjoy were stolen from her. Wayne Couzens held a position of trust as a police officer and we are outraged and sickened that he abused this trust in order to lure Sarah to her death. The world is a safer place with him imprisoned.”
West Midlands Victims' Commissioner Nicky Brennan welcomed the sentence and said: “There are lessons to be learnt for all police forces from the murder of Sarah Everard and we all need to put a much greater emphasis on women’s safety."
She said: “There is no getting away from the fact that violence against women and abuse of women needs to be tackled and a key part of that is challenging and changing the attitudes and behaviours of men who perpetrate that violence.”
Ms Proudman said the police itself needed reform and it was not clear if Cressida Dick was able to deliver it in the Metropolitan Police.
She said: “Her response to the vigil for Sarah Everard earlier this year, and the disproportionate force used by her officers was disgusting.”
Ms Proudman said record numbers of women had complained about domestic abuse by police officers.
“It’s not just a few rotten apples. We need a public inquiry into violence against women and girls,” she concluded.