The Metropolitan Police officer charged with the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard has been remanded into custody.
PC Wayne Couzens, 48, was arrested at his home in Deal, Kent, on Tuesday, some 50 miles from where the 33-year-old marketing executive disappeared in south London.
The authorised firearms officer, who works in the Met’s Diplomatic Protection Group (DPG), arrived at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in a large blue armoured police van from HMP Wandsworth.
Father-of-two Couzens is said to have kidnapped and then murdered Ms Couzens before attempting to hide her body in woodland. He was off-duty at the time of the alleged kidnap.
Ms Everard, from Brixton, was last seen on March 3, as she made her way home from a friend’s house in Clapham.
She was captured on a doorbell camera at around 9 pm walking along the A205 Poynders Road towards Tulse Hill.
A detailed search followed before human remains were found in woodland in Ashford, Kent, on 10 March.
The Met confirmed the remains as being Ms Everard’s yesterday (12th March). Prosecutors confirmed today dental records affirmed the identification.
Ms Everard was found in a builder’s bag, and her phone has never been found.
Couzens, of Deal, Kent, appeared in the dock today (Sat), charged with the kidnap and murder of Ms Everard.
Wearing a grey prison-issue tracksuit he hung his head in the dock and struggled as he was asked to confirm his name, date of birth and address.
Couzens was flanked by three security officers and was asked to speak up by Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring.
The hearing lasted around 30 minutes as Couzens sat in the courtroom’s dock behind a glass panel.
Couzens was remanded into custody by the Chief Magistrate and will next appear in court on Tuesday (16) at the Old Bailey.
He was rushed to St George’s Hospital in Tooting last night with fresh head injuries. This was the 2nd time Couzens had been taken to hospital with head injuries during his time in police custody.
After being treated in A&E, Couzens was taken back to a police station.
Zoe Martin, prosecuting, said:
‘I sent the better case management form to a member of court staff this morning.
‘This investigation commenced in this case the day after Sarah Everard was last seen on 3 March.
‘It remains ongoing with substantial enquires still being carried out.
‘Sarah Everard saw a friend in the Clapham Junction area, on 3 March and bought a bottle of wine.
‘She left that address at about 9pm to come home. Her address was about two and half miles away and a 9.15pm she called her boyfriend for about 15 minutes.
‘That call finished at 9.28pm and there has been no further activity on her phone since then.
‘She was reported missing at 8.10pm on 4 March she failed to meet her boyfriend as arranged.’
Magistrate Goldspring said: ‘Mr Couzens stand up please, listen carefully. I am sending your case to the Crown Court sitting at the Old Bailey. You will appear there on the 16 March.’
Couzens, married to Ukrainian-British scientist Elena, was a member of the Army Reserve, serving in the 3rd battalion, the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment, for two years from 2002.
Couzens joined the Met on 10 September 2018.
He initially worked in the Bromley area after transferring from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary at Dungeness nuclear power station.
Couzens moved to the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command in February 2020.
Ms Everard’s parents, Jeremy, a professor of electronics at the University of York, and her mother, Susan, left the family home in York to join Sarah’s siblings in the search for her.
They are now being supported by specialist Family Liasion Officers (FLOs) .
Couzens, of Freemen’s Way, Deal, is charged with kidnap and murder.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has received five referrals over the Everard case.
The family of Durham University graduate Sarah have paid tribute to their ‘bright and beautiful daughter and sister’.
Sarah’s family said in a statement:
‘She was kind and thoughtful, caring and dependable. She always put others first and had the most amazing sense of humour.
‘She was strong and principled and a shining example to us all. We are very proud of her and she brought much joy to our lives.’
Home Secretary Priti Patel said:
‘My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with Sarah, her family and friends at this unbearable time.
‘Many women have shared their stories and concerns online about Sarah’s disappearance last week.
‘These are so powerful because each and every woman can relate.
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