Named: Met officers charged with ‘grossly offensive’ WhatsApps to Sarah Everard killer Wayne Couzens

PC Jonathon Cobban, 35, and PC William Neville, 33, have been charged with sending the messages on a public communications network, while former Met Police officer Joel Borders, 45, is charged with the same.

The Met Police officers charged with sending “grossly offensive” comments in a WhatsApp group chat which included Sarah Everard’s killer Wayne Couzens.

PC Jonathon Cobban, 35, and PC William Neville, 33, have been charged with sending the messages on a public communications network.

Former Met Police officer Joel Borders, 45, is charged with the same offence.

The three defendants will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, March 16, for their first hearing.

The murder of Sarah Everard, whose family come from York, continues to prompt much soul-search about violence towards women - and what more can be done to prevent such crimes.

The offences are alleged to have occurred variously between April and August 2019, almost two years before Couzens murdered the marketing executive.

Her body was later found in Ashford, Kent, after national outcry following her disappearance.

Couzens is serving a whole-life sentence for his crimes.

Sarah Everard

Their alleged actions are contrary to S127 of the Communications Act 2003.

Rosemary Ainslie, from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: “Following a referral of evidence by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), the CPS authorised charges against two serving Metropolitan Police officers and one former officer.”

Ms Ainslie, who heads up the special crime division, which deals with the most complex and sensitive cases, added: “Each of the three defendants has been charged with sending grossly offensive messages on a public communications network.

“The alleged offences took place on a WhatsApp group chat.

“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.

“Criminal proceedings are active and nothing should be published that could jeopardise the defendants’ right to a fair trial.”

An IOPC spokesperson said: “The IOPC’s investigation began following a referral from the MPS in April last year (2021) and was completed in December when we referred a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

“The CPS has taken the decision to authorise charges against the officers.”

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Bas Javid of the Met Police said today: “I am deeply concerned to hear two serving officers and a former officer have been charged with these offences. I understand that the public will be very concerned too.”

“Criminal proceedings must now take their course so I am unable to comment any further at this stage.”