Concluding what has been a devastating six-month long trial, ex-police officer Wayne Couzens has finally been ordered to spend the rest of his life in jail after a judge said his crimes were as serious as a terrorist atrocity because he abused his powers as a police officer to kidnap, rape, and murder Sarah Everard. The sentence means Couzens will die in jail.
The former Metropolitan police officer used his warrant card and handcuffs to get Everard, 33, into his car as she walked home in south London in March. Couzens drove her to Kent before strangling her with his police belt and burning her body. Lord Justice Fulford told Couzens his crimes had damaged the victim’s loved ones and wider society, shattering the Everard family, eroding faith in the police, betraying his wife and two children, and stoking fear in women across the country.
Fulford explained that Fulford’s abuse of his role as a police officer distinguished his crime as an act of terrorism: “The police are in a unique position, which is essentially different from any other public servants. They have powers of coercion and control that are in an exceptional category.”
He said police were expected to use these powers in the public interest, and anything less risked trust in law and order: “If that is undermined, one of the enduring safeguards of law and order in this country is inevitably jeopardised.
“In my judgment, the misuse of a police officer’s role such as occurred in this case in order to kidnap, rape, and murder a lone victim is of equal seriousness as a murder carried out for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial, or ideological cause.
“All of these situations attack different aspects of the fundamental underpinnings of our democratic way of life. It is this vital factor which in my view makes the seriousness of this case exceptionally high.”
The court heard how Couzens had been reported for indecent exposure just three weeks before killing Sarah Everard, that he was allegedly nicknamed ‘The Rapist’ by colleagues, and was known for watching ‘brutal’ porn. The fact that other officers were aware of Couzens’ behaviour demonstrates that it isn’t just a case of ‘one bad apple’ but rather a culture of misogyny, corruption, and abuse of power.
In light of the above, Met Commissioner Cressida Dick’s apology and the force’s ‘organisational’ ownership of the ‘guilt’ doesn’t cut it. Drastic reform is needed within the police on a national level, and until then, the public will continue to distrust the police.
Rightly or wrongly, we all know prison is a dangerous place for pigs, and although Outlaw doesn’t condone violence under any circumstances, in this case… he deserves what’s coming to him.
No family should have to endure the horrors the Everard family have faced over the last six months, and we only hope that the court’s verdict can go some way in helping them find justice and peace.