Wayne Couzens: who is Sarah Everard’s killer, what is his prison sentence and where is HMP Frankland?

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Wayne Couzens was the first person to be given a life sentence for the single murder of an adult not committed in the course of a terror attack

Her death shocked the nation and sparked a wider conversation around women’s safety on the streets and misogyny at large.

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Couzens was handed a whole-life term in September 2021 for the “grotesque” killing of the 33-year-old marketing executive, who was abducted as she walked home in south London.

Ms Everard’s parents said their “lives have changed forever” on the first anniversary since her death.

Here we take a look at how long Couzens was sentenced for - and whether he will ever be released.

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) | (image: PA/NationalWorld - Kim Mogg)

What did Wayne Couzens do?

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, on the evening of 3 March.

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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.

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.

Sarah Everard was snatched as she walked home from visiting a friend in Clapham, south London, on the evening of 3 March (image: Kim Mogg)Sarah Everard was snatched as she walked home from visiting a friend in Clapham, south London, on the evening of 3 March (image: Kim Mogg)
Sarah Everard was snatched as she walked home from visiting a friend in Clapham, south London, on the evening of 3 March (image: Kim Mogg) | NationalWorld

On 7 March – two days before his arrest – Couzens took his wife and two children on a family trip to Hoads Wood.

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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”.

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How long has Wayne Couzens been jailed for? 

Couzens went on to plead guilty to Ms Everard’s kidnap, rape and murder and was sacked from the force in July.

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.

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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.

Which prison is Wayne Couzens in?

Couzens has joined a string of some of the country’s most dangerous offenders at HM Prison Frankland.

It’s a Category A men’s prison, which also holds Category A High Risk and Category B adult males, located in the village of Brasside in County Durham.

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Couzens was moved from Belmarsh to Frankland just before Christmas and reportedly was “suffering badly” with Covid last month.

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

The hearing is likely to be in early May but a date has not been fixed and may change.

Sarah Everard was just walking home when she was abducted on 3 March, 2021 (image: PA)Sarah Everard was just walking home when she was abducted on 3 March, 2021 (image: PA)
Sarah Everard was just walking home when she was abducted on 3 March, 2021 (image: PA) | (image: PA)

What have Sarah Everard’s parents said?

The family of Ms Everard have paid tribute to her on the first anniversary of her murder, saying she was “wonderful and we miss her all the time”.

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In a statement released through the Met Police, they said they have been “overwhelmed” by the public’s support.

Her family said: “It is a year since Sarah died and we remember her today, as every day, with all our love.

“Our lives have changed forever and we live with the sadness of our loss. Sarah was wonderful and we miss her all the time.

“Over the past year we have been overwhelmed with the kindness shown to us, not just by family and friends, but by the wider public.

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“We are immensely grateful to everyone for their support, it has meant such a lot to us and has comforted us through this terrible time.

“Sadly, Sarah is not the only woman to have lost her life recently in violent circumstances and we would like to extend our deepest sympathy to other families who are also grieving.”

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