Sarah Everard: The missed opportunities to stop Wayne Couzens before he murdered her

As the country awaits the sentencing of Wayne Couzens for the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard, a natural question arises: could his behaviour have been spotted sooner?

Couzens passed vetting procedures to join the Met in September 2018, and a review after his arrest “found no information available at the time that would have changed the decision”.

But since his arrest, details of his past behaviour have been unearthed that have left many wondering whether more could have been done by the Met Police before he murdered Sarah.

MyLondon’s live coverage of the hearing continues today – follow the live blog here for the latest updates.

He was nicknamed ‘The Rapist’

Before joining the Met in 2018, Couzens worked for the Civil Nuclear Constabulary where his “creepy” behaviour towards female officers earned him the nickname “The Rapist”.

Some argue that this demonstrates not only that his colleagues were aware that he made women around him feel uncomfortable, but that their response was to acknowledge it only in a jovial way.

He was accused of indecent exposure

In 2015, Couzens was accused by two men of indecent exposure in the form of driving naked from the waist down in Kent.

The Met’s vetting procedures failed to highlight this as a point of concern.

Kent Police is being investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, alongside the Met, that it did not investigate and handle the allegations properly.

Here at MyLondon, we’re doing our very best to make sure you get the latest news, reviews and features from your area.

Now there’s a way you can keep up to date with the areas that matter to you with our free email newsletters.

We have seven newsletters you can currently sign up for – including a different one for each area of London and one dedicated totally to EastEnders.

The local newsletters go out twice a day and send the latest stories straight to your inbox.

From community stories and news covering every borough of London to celebrity and lifestyle stories, we’ll make sure you get the very best every day.

To sign up to any of our newsletters, simply follow this link and select the newsletter that’s right for you.

And to really customise your news experience on the go, you can download our top-rated free apps for iPhone and Android. Find out more here.

Handcuffs while off duty

The owner of a computer hardware repair shop was one of two members of the public who noticed that Couzens wore his police belt with handcuffs and a rectangular black pouch (similar to a pepper spray holder) while he was off duty.

Couzens reportedly chuckled and, while off-duty, said: “I am an undercover police officer”.

He then opened his jacket to reveal his police issue kit. Another member of the public noticed him wearing his kit while he was out in Deal, the seaside town where he lived in Kent, while walking his dog.

Read More
Read More

‘Brutal, sexual pornography’

Couzens was “attracted to violent sexual pornography”, it was revealed in court.

The Old Bailey also heard yesterday (September 29) that an “incident” was reported in 2002, but did not detail what happened.


On February 28, just days before Sarah’s murder, Couzens allegedly flashed two female members of staff at a McDonald’s drive-thru restaurant in Swanley, Kent.

The police were given a description of the vehicle, CCTV footage that clearly identified his car, and eyewitness testimonies – but no action was taken.

Police claim the issue was one of time. Many others believe that the issue is that flashing, or “rape from afar”, is simply not taken seriously enough by police or the culture at large.

Download the MyLondon app for the latest news and breaking updates

Get the latest London news straight on your phone without having to open your browser – and get all the latest breaking news as notifications on your screen.

The MyLondon app gives you all the stories you need to help you keep on top of what’s happening in the best city ever.

You can download it on Android here and Apple here.

There were other signs of the danger Couzens posed, which no one could have known. His purchasing habits make, in hindsight, for chilling reading.

On February 10 2021, he purchased a “police standard-issue handcuff key with double locking pin” from Amazon.

Whilst on the night shift on February 28, he booked a hire car online for the period from 5pm on March 3 to 09.30am on March 4, even though he had his own car.

The prosecution said, “He was not due to work at that time and other than planning for what was to take place on March 3 2021 there is no credible alternative explanation for his need to hire a car.”

Just two minutes after booking the hire car, he ordered a roll of self-adhesive carpet protector film from Amazon.

MyLondon’s live coverage of the hearing continues today – follow the live blog here for the latest updates.

Read More
Read More

Recommended For You