Wayne Couzens, the police officer who was sentenced to a whole-life term in prison for the murder of Sarah Everard, has been charged with four counts of indecent exposure that allegedly took place between January and February 2021.
The Crown Prosecution Service announced the news this morning in a statement from Rosemary Ainslie, the head of the CPS Special Crime Division.
Ainslie said: “Following a referral of evidence by the Metropolitan Police, the CPS has authorised four charges of indecent exposure against Wayne Couzens.
“The four alleged offences took place between January and February 2021.”
Couzens will appear on the charges at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on April 13.
Ms Ainslie continued: “The function of the CPS is not to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges to a court to consider.”
Couzens was a serving Metropolitan Police officer at the time of the alleged offences, as he was when he raped and murdered Everard.
He was convicted of the abduction, rape, and murder of the 33-year-old and sentenced on September 30 2021.
Yesterday, two serving Met Police officers and a former officer pleaded not guilty to charges alleging they shared ‘grossly offensive’ messages with Couzens.
35-year-old PC Jonathan Cobban, 34-year-old PC William Neville, and former police officer Joel Borders denied the charges at Westminster Magistrates’ Court yesterday in a joint hearing.
The case regards WhatsApp messages that were allegedly sent in a group chat on six different dates between April and August of 2019.
The defendants dispute that the messages are ‘grossly offensive’ and are simply ‘offensive’ and will argue on their intentions when the messages were shared, the court heard.
Prosecuting, Jocelyn Ledward said that evidence against the three will be presented at trial on their training with the police and background.
Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring said: “They should have known the content of the material they were exchanging was grossly offensive, that’s the point of the evidence."
Outlining the defence case, barrister Nicholas Yeo said: “Whether or not the messages were ‘grossly offensive’ rather than ‘offensive’.
“Secondly, whether or not the defendants had the mens rea to either intend to be grossly offensive or to be aware of that fact.”
A two-day trial will take place on July 28 and July 29.Featured Image Credit: Alamy