Sarah Everard: Murder suspect Met police officer kept in custody

Sarah Everard: Police clash with crowd at vigil

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She vanished as she was walking home from a friend’s flat in south London on March 3. It emerged that just minutes before the alleged kidnapping Sarah was seen on a number of cameras, including the camera of a marked police car. The body of the 33-year-old marketing executive was found hidden in an area of woodland in Ashford, Kent, on Wednesday. 

The court was told how her body was found inside a large builder’s bag and identified using dental records. A post-mortem examination has taken place but no cause of death was given in court.

Couzens was arrested on Tuesday and charged with kidnap and murder on Friday night.

In the dock, he wore a grey tracksuit and appeared to have a red wound on the top of his forehead. He has twice been treated in hospital for injuries sustained while in custody. Couzens spoke only to confirm his name and personal details, sitting between two plain-clothes officers in the dock and leaning forward for most of the hearing.

Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring asked prosecutor Zoe Martin to provide a brief summary “given the nature of the case and the interest”.

The court heard the officer is accused of kidnapping Sarah in the Poynders Road area of Clapham.

Ms Martin said that Sarah was reported missing by her boyfriend on March 4.

The prosecutor said Sarah had visited a friend in the Clapham Junction area on March 3 and left at around 9pm to make the approximately two-and-a-half mile journey home.

She called her boyfriend for around 14 minutes and the court heard there has been no further activity on her mobile phone.

Sarah was caught alone on CCTV at 9.15pm, again at 9.28pm and later by the camera of a police car at 9.32pm.

At around 9.35pm, a bus camera captured two figures on Poynders Road and a car with its hazard lights flashing.

Judge Goldspring remanded Couzens in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.

The Metropolitan Police has said Couzens joined the force in 2018, most recently serving in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, an armed unit responsible for Parliamentary estate and embassies in London.

His main job was uniformed patrol of diplomatic buildings, and Scotland Yard confirmed that he had not been on duty at the time Sarah vanished in Clapham.

Before his court appearance, Scotland Yard said that Couzens, of Deal in Kent, was taken to hospital for a second time in 48 hours on Friday for treatment to another head injury sustained in custody. He was then discharged and returned to a police station.

He was previously treated in hospital for a separate head wound on Thursday, also sustained in custody when he was alone in his cell.

Meanwhile, Metropolitan Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick visited search sites in Kent yesterday to thank the teams involved for their efforts.

Officers continue to search around the area where Ms Everard’s body was found.

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