Detective Chief Inspector Katherine Goodwin has spoken of how she caught Wayne Couzens following the disappearance of Sarah Everard, revealing her “complete shock” when she learned he was a police officer.
Talking to The Times, DCI Goodwin described the challenge of analysing over 2,000 hours of CCTV footage, which did not arrive chronologically but in “piecemeal” fashion.
How Wayne Couzens was caught
This painstaking analysis led to the breakthrough clip captured by a bus camera which showed Ms Everard standing next to Couzens' hire car.
Ms Everard, 33, left a friend’s house in Clapham Common in south London, on 3 March and disappeared as she walked home towards Brixton.
DCI Goodwin said her team used phone analysis to pinpoint Ms Everard’s last known location, which allowed them to concentrate on that area’s CCTV at the South Circular Road.
“On this length of road, which is no more than 300 metres, we knew that Sarah must have gone missing,” DCI Goodwin said. “But what we didn’t know was how or under what circumstances.”
She added: “We began to methodically box off that small area establishing whether she had diverted, whatever explanations there might be.”
DCI Goodwin also recalled the moment that she learned that Couzens was the suspect linked to the hire car in the footage: “I will never forget the moment one of my team came running into my office, closed the door and told me the renter of the car was a police officer. I was in absolute shock.”
On Thursday, Couzens was sentenced to a whole life order for the kidnap, murder and rape of Ms Everard.
He will die in jail.
‘Most impressive police investigation in 30 years’
The judge who jailed Couzens has praised team of detectives led by DCI Goodwin.
Lord Justice Fulford said that the investigation was the “most impressive” he had come across in his judicial career and rejected any possibility that the force had “closed ranks” after discovering Couzens himself was a serving Met officer.
The judge said the prosecution material was so thorough that it made any realistic attempt at a defence from Couzens' legal team unlikely.
In his sentencing remarks, Lord Justice Fulford commented: "This has been the most impressive police investigation that I have encountered in 30 years of sitting as a judge. The speed with which the evidence leading to the arrest of the defendant was secured is highly notable, as has been the painstaking reconstruction of these events using electronic material alongside more old-fashioned policing methods.
"It cannot be suggested in my view, even for a moment, that the Metropolitan Police 'closed ranks' to protect one of their own.
“Instead, remorselessly, efficiently and impartially the investigating officers followed all the available leads, resulting in an overwhelming case against the accused.
"Meriting particular mention are Detective Chief Inspector Katherine Goodwin, Detective Kim Martin and Acting Detective Inspector Lee Tullett. Mr Tullett has been a key figure in the investigation and preparation of this case, going well beyond what would properly be expected of any police officer, and his role deserves high commendation."
Who is DCI Katherine Goodwin?
Katherine Goodwin has been a detective chief inspector with the Metropolitan Police for the past three years, and has been a police officer for 17 years.
She led the investigation into Sarah Everard’s disappearance from the outset, and appeared on TV in appeals for information.
DCI Goodwin that the disappearance immediately rang “alarm bells”.
Additional reporting by Grace Newton
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our email newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.