Britain’s most hated officer Wayne Couzens is seeking permission to appeal against his whole-life term for kidnapping, raping and murdering Sarah Everard.
The Met firearms officer used Covid powers to conduct a fake arrest of the 33-year-old marketing executive as she walked home from a friend’s house in March, before committing crimes so horrific they shocked the nation and undermined confidence in the police.
Handing down a whole-life sentence at the Old Bailey last month, Lord Justice Fulford said Couzens, 48, who had pleaded guilty to kidnap, rape and murder, ‘used his position as a police officer’ to kidnap Miss Everard in Clapham.
But in the latest twist, a court official said on Tuesday: ‘We have been notified that an appeal has been lodged by Mr Couzens,’ The Mirror reported. If permission is granted, the case will be heard by the Court of Appeal Criminal Division.
Couzens is one of over 60 criminals serving whole-life sentences. They are reserved for the most serious crimes such as serial killings and politically motivated murders.
Lord Justice Fulford said by misusing his police role to kidnap, rape and murder Sarah, his crime was ‘of equal seriousness as a murder carried out for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause’.
Couzens joins infamous killers such as British soldier Lee Rigby’s murderer Michael Adebolajo, police officer killer Dale Cregan and Mark Bridger, who murdered five-year-old April Jones.
Moors murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley also got whole-life orders. Serial killer Levi Bellfield is unique in being given two.
Britain’s most hated police officer Wayne Couzens is seeking permission to appeal against his whole-life term for kidnapping, raping and murdering Sarah Everard
A slew of claims have come to light about Couzens since he was jailed for his life with no chance of parole after he kidnapped, raped and murdered Miss Everard.
Couzens is known to have committed an indecent exposure, driving round naked from the waist down in his car, when he served with them in 2015.
He has also been identified as being responsible for carrying out the same offence at a McDonald’s restaurant days before he targeted Miss Everard.
On March 3, he staged a fake Covid arrest, handcuffed Miss Everard and put her in his car before driving 80 miles to Kent where he raped and murdered her. Days later, he burned her body and left it in woods near land he owned.
A slew of claims have come to light about Couzens since he was jailed for his life with no chance of parole after he kidnapped, raped and murdered Miss Everard
The Met has faced a wave of criticism over missed opportunities to expose Couzens as a sexual predator before he went on to murder Miss Everard.
It emerged the 48-year-old was known as ‘the rapist’ by staff at the Civil Nuclear Constabulary because he made female colleagues feel so uncomfortable.
He had been accused of indecent exposure in Kent in 2015 and in London in the days before Ms Everard’s murder, but was allowed to continue working.
Priti Patel has announced there will be an independent inquiry into the ‘systematic failures’ that allowed Wayne Couzens to serve as a Met police officer. The Home Secretary said that ‘recent tragic events have exposed unimaginable failures in policing’.
She said that the public ‘have a right to know’ why Couzens was able to be employed by the Metropolitan Police.
Addressing the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Miss Patel said: ‘I can confirm today, there will be an inquiry, to give the independent oversight needed, to ensure something like this can never happen again.’
The inquiry will look at Couzens’ career in the Metropolitan Police and determine if red flags were missed to identify him as a threat.
The probe is likely to be viewed as a warning shot at Met chief Cressida Dick who has faced calls to quit following the murder of Miss Everard.
The inquiry will be split into two parts, with the first examining Couzens’ previous behaviour.
It will seek to establish a ‘definitive account’ of his conduct leading up to his conviction, as well ‘any opportunities missed’. The second part of the probe will look at ‘specific issues raised by the first part of the inquiry’. That could include examining wider issues across policing, including vetting practices, discipline and workplace behaviour.
Miss Patel will also write to the independent police inspectorate HMICFRS to commission a ‘thematic inspection of vetting and counter-corruption procedures in policing across England and Wales’. This will look at how forces detect and deal with misogynistic and predatory behaviour.
The Home Office said the inquiry will be established on a non-statutory footing but ‘can be converted to a statutory inquiry if required’.
A chairman for the inquiry and its terms of reference will be announced by the Government in due course.
On March 3, Couzens staged a fake Covid arrest, handcuffed Sarah Everard (pictured), 33, and put her in his car before driving 80 miles to Kent where he raped and murdered her
In light of Miss Everard’s murder, all sexual and domestic abuse allegations against Metropolitan Police officers over the last ten years will also be reviewed, Cressida Dick (pictured) confirmed
Met Police chief Cressida Dick FINALLY admits official advice telling women to ‘wave down a bus’ if arrested by a lone male officer in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder was nonsense
Scotland Yard chief Cressida Dick finally admitted official advice telling terrified women to ‘wave down a bus’ if they were arrested by a lone male officer was nonsense.
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner confirmed that the guidance, which sparked outrage when issued in the wake of Sarah Everard ‘s murder by serving PC Wayne Couzens, had been axed.
Scotland Yard was accused of pouring scorn on frightened women earlier this month after the London force’s strategy urged them to attract attention if they fear being abducted by police.
It came as Couzens was ordered to spend the rest of his life behind bars for kidnapping, raping and killing Ms Everard in London in March.
Lawyers warned the ‘unrealistic and misconceived’ guidance could cause chaos and in extreme cases see women Tasered for resisting arrest.
They also suggested bus drivers could end up being arrested if they stopped to help.
Dame Cressida initially defended the advice, saying it had been ‘taken out of context’.
But facing the London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee, she said: ‘I completely understand why that ended up as the headline.
‘It was not intended, and it is not how we see things. Yes we have reviewed it and I think we would address the question differently were it to come again in the future.’
In light of Miss Everard’s murder, all sexual and domestic abuse allegations against Metropolitan Police officers over the last ten years will also be reviewed.
Dame Cressida Dick, commissioner for the force, announced on Friday that an investigation is being launched into all current cases of sexual misconduct or domestic abuse allegations against London’s police officers.
Dame Cressida, 60, also revealed similar allegations that have been made against both officers and workers at the force over the last ten years will be reviewed.
Officers from the force’s Directorate of Professional Standards will analyse each of the cases internally and will undertake a check of the vetting history of the staff involved in the claims.
The under-fire commissioner, who is resisting calls to resign, said: ‘We’ll be reviewing them [the allegations] to make sure that the victim has been properly supported, and that the investigation is suitably thorough.
‘We’ll also be going back to look at some of those [historic] investigations just to make sure that the processes that should have taken place have taken place and that we are taking the right management action after the case is closed.’
The force said in a statement the examination, which has been launched in addition to an independent review into the Met’s culture by Baroness Casey of Blackstock, was being held in the aftermath Ms Everard’s murder.
Dame Cressida said she was ‘delighted’ to announce Baroness Blackstock will be in charge of an ‘independent and far-reaching review’ lasting an estimated six months.
She said: ‘She will be looking at our vetting, our recruitment, our leadership, our training and all manner of processes to see how they reinforce the best possible standards.
‘She’ll make a public report, and public recommendations, so that we can improve and make sure that the public have more confidence in us.’
Dame Cressida said Baroness Casey – who has been leading an inquiry into how England yobs were able to break into Wembley during the Euros final – was a strong candidate for the job.
‘I think she’s got the right character, and the right expertise, and the right background, to do this review,’ she said.
Baroness Casey said: ‘Trust is given to the police by our, the public’s, consent. So any acts that undermine that trust must be examined and fundamentally changed.
‘This will no doubt be a difficult task but we owe it to the victims and families this has affected and the countless decent police officers this has brought into disrepute.’
The spotlight will also be shone on the force’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command – which killer Couzens worked for – with a ‘root-and-branch review’ looking at whether there are any ‘specific issues’ within the unit.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has welcomed the appointment of Baroness Casey to lead the independent review into the Met’s culture and standards.
In a series of tweets, Mr Khan said: ‘Baroness Casey’s review must look into the wider culture of the Met Police, including issues of misogyny, sexism, racism and homophobia as well as thoroughly examining recruitment, vetting, training, leadership and standards of behaviour among officers and staff.
‘I’ve been clear with the Met Commissioner about the scale of the challenge we face and the change that’s needed, and I will continue to play my full part in holding the Met Police to account on behalf of Londoners.’
In the wake of Couzens’ life sentence for murder, it was revealed more than half of Met officers found guilty of sexual misconduct over a four-year period to 2020 kept their jobs, a total of 43 officers out of 83 or 52 per cent.
Along with the handling of the Everard case, the Metropolitan Police are also facing heat over an independent panel’s finding of ‘institutional corruption’ in the investigation into the unsolved murder of Daniel Morgan in 1987.
The private investigator was murdered in a south London car park and the panel found that the Met concealed or denied failures in their investigation.