How was Sarah Everard assassin Wayne Couzens allowed to hitch the police? | EUROtoday

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Wayne Couzens’ predatory sexual behaviour began 20 years earlier than he raped and murdered Sarah Everard and he ought to by no means have been allowed to hitch the police, a damning inquiry has discovered.

Police chiefs admitted Ms Everard’s demise in 2021 by the hands of a serving Metropolitan Police officer was “one the darkest days in police history” as a surprising report uncovered the dimensions of failures in recruiting the monster and eight missed probabilities to cease him in his tracks.

A two-year unbiased inquiry has uncovered allegations that Couzens dedicated a really severe sexual assault in opposition to a baby who was barely in her teenagers earlier than his policing profession even began.

Lady Elish Angiolini’s inquiry uncovered proof of a number of different sexual assaults by Couzens and he or she fears there could also be much more victims.

In a damning sequence of revelations, it emerged that:

  • Police missed eight probabilities to catch Couzens after folks reported incidents of indecent publicity between 2008 and 2021
  • Multiple victims have come ahead since his arrest with allegations together with rape, an tried knifepoint kidnap and a severe sexual assault of a kid
  • The inquiry referred to as for a radical overhaul of police vetting and recruitment after discovering repeated failures to identify pink flags – with three separate police forces allowing him to serve
  • Met Chief Mark Rowley described the report as an “urgent call to action” as he apologised to Ms Everard’s household once more

Inquiry chair Lady Elish Angiolini has warned there could possibly be one other Wayne Couzens hidden in police ranks

(Aaron Chown/PA Wire)

After the report was revealed on Thursday, Lady Elish instructed The Independent of her shock on the scale of the failures, warning there could possibly be one other Couzens hidden in plain sight.

“I thought there would be initial failures, but to see them peppered throughout the period was quite shocking,” she stated.

She referred to as for the federal government and police chiefs to urgently think about 16 suggestions she has made for reform, including it’s “absolutely critical to the future of policing”.

Couzens was additionally accused of raping a lady at a singles night time in east London between 2006 and 2007 and an extra alleged rape underneath a bridge within the capital in 2019. Both victims got here ahead after Couzens was arrested, however no additional motion was taken attributable to “evidential difficulties”.

Another complainant got here ahead to say that Couzens had assaulted a person wearing drag at a bar in Kent in the summertime of 2019 and invited him to carry out a intercourse act exterior.

The long-awaited 350-page report additionally detailed his “diverse and deviant” sexual pursuits, with proof he confirmed pals and colleagues violent pornography and on a minimum of two events shared unsolicited photos of his genitals with younger ladies.

Lady Elish additionally discovered Couzens, who’s alleged to have possessed indecent pictures of youngsters, paid feminine on-line retailers to masturbate into garments and ship them to him.

The inquiry has referred to as for a radical overhaul of police vetting and recruitment after discovering repeated failures to identify pink flags, permitting three separate police forces to allow him to serve.

It has additionally referred to as for a elementary change to how police reply to indecent publicity after repeated incidents linked to Couzens weren’t correctly investigated.

The inquiry discovered eight events through which incidents of alleged indecent publicity have been reported to police between 2008 and 2021 – previous to Ms Everard’s homicide – however not one led to his arrest and prosecution. An additional incident, courting to 2004, was reported after her demise.

Lady Elish stated: “Wayne Couzens should never have been a police officer. And, without a significant overhaul, there is nothing to stop another Wayne Couzens operating in plain sight.”

Sarah Everard’s household stated Wayne Couzens ought to by no means have been a police officer

(Family handout/Crown Prosecution Service/PA)

Couzens was a serving Metropolitan Police officer when he kidnapped, raped and murdered Ms Everard, 33, three years in the past as she was strolling residence in Clapham, south London.

The horrifying crime shocked the nation and led to a widespread outpouring of grief, thrusting problems with police corruption and violence in opposition to ladies and women into the highlight.

Lady Elish added: “I would urge all those in authority in every police force to read this and take immediate action. Sarah’s parents and loved ones live in the perpetual grief and pain of having lost Sarah in this way.

“Her death, and the public discourse it caused, should galvanise those responsible for policing to make sure something like this can never happen again.”

Responding to the report in a uncommon assertion, Ms Everard’s devastated household stated it was “obvious” that Couzens ought to by no means have been a police officer.

“Whilst holding a position of trust, in reality he was a serial sex offender. Warning signs were overlooked throughout his career and opportunities to confront him were missed,” the household stated.

“We believe that Sarah died because he was a police officer – she would never have got into a stranger’s car.”

The assertion from Sue, Jeremy, Katie and James Everard paid tribute to Sarah, a advertising and marketing govt, forward of the third anniversary of her demise on Sunday.

“We no longer wait for her call; we no longer expect to see her. We know she won’t be there at family gatherings. But the desperate longing to have her with us pervades every part of our lives,” they stated.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley stated the pressure was working “step by step” to drive up requirements and restore belief in policing

(James Manning/PA)

The unbiased inquiry, commissioned by former residence secretary Priti Patel, units out 16 key suggestions to authorities and policing leaders to forestall different officers from abusing their place of belief in “such a heinous way” once more.

It was discovered that Couzens rigorously managed the impression he gave of himself to folks, “manipulated information” on software kinds and solely shared his callous views of ladies with a really small group of “like-minded” folks.

Couzens efficiently utilized to grow to be a particular constable at Kent Police in 2006, regardless of having failed vetting two years earlier when he utilized to be a daily officer.

The report discovered the pressure’s recruitment insurance policies have been utilized inconsistently after the vetting was carried out by two totally different groups. He labored as a particular with Kent Police till he resigned in 2010.

He then moved to the Civil Nuclear Constabulary in 2011 and went on to be accredited as a firearms officer, however the report discovered that he shouldn’t have been allowed to hitch due to his troubled funds.

At the time of his recruitment, Thames Valley Police, to whom the CNC outsourced vetting, really helpful he shouldn’t cross as a result of he had a monetary authorized settlement to keep away from chapter – referred to as an Individual Voluntary Arrangement – however this advice was not adopted.

His preliminary vetting to hitch the Met in 2018 was additionally flawed after the result of a Police National Database test was recorded as “no trace” regardless of him being reported lacking in 2013 and his automobile being linked to an incident of indecent publicity in 2015.

This was missed but once more when he utilized to function an authorised firearms officer with the pressure the next yr.

Couzens – who won’t ever be launched from jail – went on to make use of his data and police powers to falsely arrest Ms Everard for breaching lockdown restrictions, earlier than raping and dumping her strangled physique in a woodland close to Ashford.

Shockingly – even after he was uncovered as a killer – the Met instructed the inquiry in 2022 they might nonetheless have recruited him in the event that they have been supplied the identical data once more.

“I found this astonishing,” Lady Elish stated. “I make a number of recommendations to improve recruitment and vetting – covering everything from in-person interviews, and home visits for new recruits, to improvements for information sharing around transfers.”

Police missed eight probabilities to cease Wayne Couzens earlier than he murdered Sarah Everard


Lady Elish added that allegations of indecent publicity have been handled as “low level” by investigating officers.

In 2015 somebody reported to Kent Police a person driving Couzens’ automobile whereas indecently exposing himself. An additional report was made a few “masturbatory incident” in the direction of a bike owner down a slender nation lane in 2020.

Just days earlier than he kidnapped Ms Everard, he was reported for exposing himself at a drive-through in London. Then-Met police constable Samantha Lee was sacked and barred from being a police officer after it was discovered she had not correctly investigated the incidents.

The report additionally famous the police working atmosphere “did nothing to discourage his misogynistic view of women”, which allowed his deviant behaviour exterior work to flourish.

Anna Birley, co-founder of Reclaim These Streets, which staged a high-profile vigil within the wake of Ms Everard’s homicide, stated it will likely be troublesome for ladies to belief police till the inquiry’s suggestions are embraced by the federal government.

She instructed The Independent: “Misogyny still thrives within policing culture, warning signs are missed and dangerous men operate in positions of authority in plain sight.

“The report is a grim read, and Lady Elish has done a thoughtful and thorough job but until the home secretary makes the inquiry and its findings statutory I don’t trust that the necessary reforms will be implemented.

“Until then, it will be difficult for women to trust that there are not predators among the ranks of the people tasked with keeping them safe.”

Deputy chief Maggie Blyth, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on violence in opposition to ladies and women, described Ms Everard’s homicide as one of many “darkest days in police history”.

“What followed was a watershed moment,” she added.

While Sir Mark stated the pressure was working “step by step” to drive up requirements and restore belief in policing, he admitted the report lays naked the “very low base that we are starting from”.

Kent Police has apologised for failing to correctly examine when Couzens was reported for indecent publicity in 2015, including it absolutely accepts the report’s suggestions.

Labour’s Yvette Cooper stated the inquiry had uncovered “a catalogue of appalling failures”. The shadow residence secretary added: “Wayne Couzens should never have been a police officer, he should have been stopped and he could have been stopped from being a police officer.

“It is truly appalling his history of alleged sexual offending stretches back so many years and yet opportunities to investigate were repeatedly missed, and most disturbing of all, Lady Angiolini says there is nothing to stop another Wayne Couzens operating in plain sight.”

Home secretary James Cleverly stated Ms Everard’s homicide was an act of “pure evil” however insisted it isn’t a mirrored image of nearly all of devoted law enforcement officials.

He stated the federal government will “thoroughly” think about the suggestions, including: “In the three years since, a root and stem clean-up of the policing workforce has been underway and we have made huge strides – as well as making tackling violence against women and girls a national policing priority to be treated on a par with terrorism.

“But we will continue to do everything in our power to protect women and girls. I am grateful to Lady Elish for her meticulous investigation. Her insights will be invaluable as we move forward in supporting our police to build forces of the highest standards of integrity and regain the trust of the British public.”