Wayne Couzens: Sarah Everard murderer pleads guilty to three counts of indecent exposure

One of the indecent exposure charges, in February 2021, came just days before killer police officer Wayne Couzens raped and murdered Sarah Everard.

Sarah Everard’s killer - disgraced former police officer Wayne Couzens - has pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent exposure.

One of the charges, in February 2021, came just days before the serving police officer kidnapped the 33-year-old marketing executive, before raping and murdering her. Couzens is already serving a whole-life tariff for the “grotesque” murder of Ms Everard, when he used his Met Police warrant card to abduct her.

The former officer, 49, pleaded guilty on Monday, 13 February, to three counts of indecent exposure in Kent between November 2020 and February 2021. They took place in woodland and a fast food restaurant. He entered the pleas at the Old Bailey by video link from Frankland jail - wearing a grey tracksuit with a long grey beard - where he is serving a whole-life sentence for the murder of Ms Everard.

On 13 November 2020, he stepped out of a woodland in Deal, Kent, naked and performed a sex act on himself as a woman cycled past. Detailing the case, Mrs Justice May said: “She was scared and shaken, and could do nothing but cycle past, up the hill, as fast as she was able.” Traffic cameras and cell site data located Couzens in his Seat in that country area at that time.

A few months later, on different occasions on 14 and 27 February 2021, Couzens exposed his genitals to staff at a fast food restaurant in Kent. He is said to have looked straight at them sat in his car, showing his penis, while handing his card to pay for food. The senior judge said: “The female staff were shaken, upset and angry.”

Wayne Couzens, former Met Police officer, was given a whole life order last year after murdering Sarah Everard (image: PA/Kim Mogg)Wayne Couzens, former Met Police officer, was given a whole life order last year after murdering Sarah Everard (image: PA/Kim Mogg)
Wayne Couzens, former Met Police officer, was given a whole life order last year after murdering Sarah Everard (image: PA/Kim Mogg)

This second incident was days before he abducted Ms Everard on 3 March 2021. The Met said today, 13 February, that it received the allegation on 28 February, and this was recorded and passed to a local officer to investigate. By the time of Ms Everard’s abduction, Scotland Yard said the indecent exposure investigation had not concluded and the officer did not know Couzens was a police officer.

Det Ch Insp Katherine Goodwin, who leads the Specialist Crime Command team that originally investigated the murder of Sarah Everard, said: “It was hugely important for the team to listen to those who came forward, investigate their allegations thoroughly and make sure Couzens faced justice for this offending.

“Couzens tried to frighten and demean them, but they have only shown strength and dignity in reporting him and supporting this investigation. I would like to thank them for their patience, co-operation and help throughout the case.”

On 3 March 2021, Couzens used his Met Police-issued warrant card and handcuffs to snatch Ms Everard as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham, south London. The firearms officer, who had clocked off from a 12-hour shift at the American embassy that morning, drove to a secluded rural area near Dover in Kent, where he raped Ms Everard. The 33-year-old, who lived in Brixton, south London, had been strangled by 2.30am the following morning.

Sarah Everard was murdered by serving police officer.Sarah Everard was murdered by serving police officer.
Sarah Everard was murdered by serving police officer.

Couzens then burned her body in a refrigerator in an area of woodland he owned in Hoads Wood, near Ashford, before dumping her remains in a nearby pond. On 7 March – two days before his arrest – Couzens took his wife and two children on a family trip to Hoads Wood.

Couzens even allowed his children to play in close proximity to where Ms Everard’s body had been discarded. He was arrested at his home in Deal, Kent, after police connected him to a hire car he used to abduct Ms Everard, whose remains were found by police dogs on 10 March.

Police waited for two hours before moving in to detain the officer, giving him the chance to wipe his mobile phone beforehand. In an interview at his home, Couzens concocted a fake story that he had been “lent” on by a gang who then forced him to hand over “a girl”.

Couzens went on to plead guilty to Ms Everard’s kidnap, rape and murder and was sacked from the force in July 2021. Lord Justice Fulford handed down a whole-life term to Couzens in October 2021, meaning he will die in jail.

Whole life orders are the most severe punishment available in the UK criminal justice system for those who commit the most serious crimes. It means the same as life imprisonment, which is a sentence that lasts until the death of the prisoner, although in most cases they will be eligible for early release after serving a minimum term.

It was the first time this sentence had been imposed for a single murder of an adult not committed in the course of a terror attack. Criminals handed whole-life sentences will never be considered for release, unless there are exceptional compassionate grounds to warrant it.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Professionalism, Bas Javid, said: “We know the public will, understandably, be sickened at yet more grotesque crimes by Couzens. The process of flushing out the corrupt and the criminal from the Met will be slow and painful, but is necessary and we will continue to do so. This is how we will reform, move forward and become an institution Londoners can have confidence in.”

At the Old Bailey on Monday, 13 February, Couzens also pleaded not guilty to an indecent exposure charge relating to an alleged incident in June 2015. The plea was accepted but he will not face trial over the charge as it was left on file.