Sarah Everard murder: Wayne Couzens legal aid bill revealed - and what is happening with his sentence appeal

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Wayne Couzens was given a whole life order for the abduction, rape and murder of Sarah Everard

The legal aid bill to pay for the defence of Wayne Couzens has so far topped £30,000.

Couzens, who was a serving Met Police officer when he murdered 33-year-old Sarah Everard just over a year ago, has been granted a total of £33,477.84 in legal aid for his defence.

The tax payer-funded sums are paid to his defence lawyers.

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Miss Everard’s murder caused shock and outrage, and sparked a discussion around women’s safety and the issue of misogyny.

How much has been paid in legal aid for Couzens?

Wayne Couzens legal aid bill has topped more than £30,000 so far.Wayne Couzens legal aid bill has topped more than £30,000 so far.
Wayne Couzens legal aid bill has topped more than £30,000 so far. | JPI Media

A Freedom of Information request by NationalWorld has revealed the breakdown of legal aid paid out for Couzens.

The amount paid for solicitor costs for his defence at the crown court was £15,393.30, while £17,458.74 was paid for his barrister.

In addition there was £331.74 paid in solicitor costs at the police station, and £294.01 for the magistrates’ court.

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A Legal Aid Agency spokesperson said: “Wayne Couzens did not receive a penny of legal aid – it went to lawyers who ensured justice was served so he could ultimately be imprisoned for his crimes.”

Couzens is currently appealing his whole life tariff so no claims for legal aid have been submitted yet as the process is ongoing.

The FOI response from the Legal Aid Agency states: “The appeal against sentence is ongoing. Legal aid is paid in arrears at the conclusion of the case and no claims have yet been received.”

Why has Couzens received legal aid?

Like anyone else facing a trial at crown court level, Couzens would have been eligible for legal aid. However, this eligibility is subject to a strict means test. 

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Depending on their financial circumstances applicants for criminal legal aid can be required to pay contributions up to the entire cost of the defence if they are convicted of at least one offence with which they are charged.

A means test is also applied to legal aid for magistrates court cases.

Legal aid is available to people when they are in the police station irrespective of their financial circumstances.

Couzens was arrested at his home in Deal, Kent on 9 March last year. He was formally charged on 12 March and appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court the following day.

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He went on to plead guilty to murdering Miss Everard on 9 July, he had previously admitted kidnapping and raping her.

What is happening with Couzens’ sentence appeal?

In October, the Court of Appeal confirmed that an application to bring an appeal against Couzens’ sentence had been lodged.

Couzens abducted Ms Everard as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham, south London, on the evening of 3 March.

He used his warrant card and handcuffs to snatch the marketing executive off the street using Covid lockdown rules to make a false arrest.

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When Lord Justice Fulford sentenced Couzens at the Old Bailey in September last year, he said the circumstances of the case were “devastating, tragic and wholly brutal” and were so exceptional that it warranted a whole-life order.

It was the first time the sentence had been imposed for a single murder of an adult not committed in the course of a terror attack.

It is thought Couzens challenge to the length of his prison sentence will be heard at the Court of Appeal in early May.

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