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‘Red flags’ police missed with Wayne Couzens before he murdered Sarah Everard

‘Red flags’ police missed with Wayne Couzens before he murdered Sarah Everard

There were several occurrences where the killer police officer could have been caught

There were several 'red flags' that were missed by police officers to catch Wayne Couzens, it has emerged, meaning he was able to remained an armed police officer for longer.

Couzens pleaded guilty to the kidnap, rape and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard in 2021.

But according to a new damning report commissioned by the Home Office, the killer remained as an officer despite being a sex offender.

The Angiolini Report has found that Couzens' history of alleged sexual offending and interest in extreme violent pornography went back a staggering 20 years prior to the murder of Everard on 3 March, 2021.


The former police officer carried out a fake arrest on Sarah as she was walking home from a friend's house for 'breaching Covid guidelines' in south London, before he raped and murdered her.

He then burnt and dumped Sarah's body near the English town of Dover.

NPCC chair, Chief Constable Gavin Stephens, has released a statement saying that he is 'aghast' by the red flags that were missed before Couzens murdered Sarah.

He describes it as a 'harrowing murder' by someone who 'abused a position of trust', as well as having caused 'untold suffering'.

"His offending should have been stopped sooner and this should have never happened," Stephens said. "I apologise to any woman or girl that has fallen victim to abuse by a police officer."

The Angiolini report found that he would have been sacked if background checks and investigations were carried out into indecent exposure reports against him over the years.

It also did not find anything conclusive on if Sarah's murder could have been prevented.

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So, when exactly could the police have caught the killer?

Indecent exposure allegations

The disgraced police officer had numerous allegations made against him over the years, with investigations in 2015 and 2021 being described as 'poor quality' and being 'destined to fail from the start' according to the report.

It further states: “Rather than embarking on a process of detailed, thorough and time-consuming evidence-gathering, the officers displayed apathy and disinterest and found reasons not to pursue the cases”.

There was also an instance in November 2008 where Couzens exposed himself to a woman in south London, though the suspect was never identified despite the offence being reported.

The 2015 case in particular was a missed chance for Kent Police to disrupt and potentially end Couzens' criminal streak.


Child sexual assault allegations

In Couzens' early 20s, he was accused of sexually assaulting a child that was 'barely in her teens', with the inquiry also identifying four further victims who did not report the instances to the police.

It is feared that there may be more victims.

There are also allegations that he was in possession of inappropriate photos of children.

Further rape and assault allegations

Though the exact date is not certain, between late 2006 and early 2007, Couzens is suspected of raping a woman at a bar in east London, with the victim coming forward following Sarah's murder.

In October 2019, there was another allegation of rape that took place under a bridge in London, which followed his sexual assault of a man in a Kent bar in the summer of the same year.

When the man protested and resisted, Couzens revealed that he was a police officer and asked him to come outside to perform a sex act.

The victim again came forward to police after Couzens was arrested following the murder of Sarah.


Possession of pornography and indecent images

Couzens was alleged to have deemed it okay to play a pornographic video to watch in his early twenties, according to the report.

Another occasion during his volunteer service with the Territorial Army while in his thirties involved him showing pornographic material, which included a woman being penetrated by an animal, to other volunteers.

Extortionate levels of debt

In 2002, Couzens became a special constable for Kent Police, but failed vetting to become a regular officer just six years later.

He was still allowed to remain as a special constable though, which holds the same powers as a regular constable and was even allowed to work alone.

After joining the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, the Thames Valley Police carried out vetting and uncovered that he should not be recruited according to rules around officers with high levels of debts, but these findings were disregarded.

When Couzens joined the Metropolitan Police in 2018, a search of the Police National Database, known as an intelligence database, found 'no trace' of this.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence, contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.

Featured Image Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Topics: Crime, UK News