Wayne Couzens: Sarah Everard murderer loses appeal against whole-life sentence in prison

Wayne Couzens was a serving Met Police officer when he kidnapped Sarah Everard, 33, from the streets of south London, raped and murdered her - before burying her body in Kent woodland.

Sarah Everard’s murderer Wayne Couzens is set to die in prison, after judges rejected his appeal against a whole-life sentence.

The 49-year-old was a serving Met Police officer when he abducted the marketing executive from the streets of south London, using his warrant card under the pretence of Covid rules.

Couzens handcuffed the 33-year-old in the back of a rented car, before driving her to remote Kent woodland where he raped and murdered her.

The case shocked Britain, with protests across the country over violence against women and girls and police misconduct.

Wayne Couzens is to have his whole-life prison sentence for the horrifying murder of Sarah Everard reviewed today. Picture: Metropolitan Police/PA Wire

Couzens became one of only around 100 criminals to be given a whole-life tariff for his sick crimes, the most severe punishment a judge can hand down.

These have only been given to the UK’s most notorious killers such as the Yorkshire Ripper, Moors murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley and the Wests.

The ex-armed officer decided to torture Sarah’s family further by appealing against his sentence, however today this was slapped down by judges - who ruled he will likely never be released.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett, sitting with four other senior judges, dismissed Couzens’ bid to reduce his sentence.

The murder of Sarah Everard by a serving Metropolitan Police officer a year ago is thought to be one of the reasons why confidence in police has dropped.

In Friday’s judgment, he said: “The issue at the heart of the appeal, is whether this murder, with its unique features, justified the judge’s overall conclusion that it merited a whole life order.

“We have concluded that it does, albeit we would, with respect, arrive at this conclusion by a different route from the judge.”

Lord Burnett continued: “This was, as the judge said, warped, selfish and brutal offending, which was both sexual and homicidal.

“It was a case with unique and extreme aggravating features. Chief amongst these, as the judge correctly identified, was the grotesque misuse by Couzens of his position as a police officer, with all that connoted, to facilitate Ms Everard’s kidnap, rape and murder.

“We agree with the observations of the judge about the unique position of the police, the critical importance of their role and the critical trust that the public repose in them.”

Former PC Wayne Couzens. Credit: Kent Messenger / SWNS

Lord Burnett also added that while Couzens had pleaded guilty he had never shown remorse, and had tried to dodge blame by spinning a web of lies about being threatened by a gang.

“Remorse is different from acceptance of guilt,” he said.

“Couzens’ guilty pleas were a mitigating factor. But in gauging whether his contrition was genuine, it was relevant that at no stage had Couzens offered a full explanation for what had occurred.

“Instead, he had sought to minimise his true responsibility from the moment he had first spoken to the police when he lied about the people-trafficking gang, to the “revealing, and wholly implausible” account.

“The examples of this given by the judge were telling.

“They showed that Couzens had sought to minimise his responsibility for the cold-blooded and calculated planning that had taken place prior to the kidnap, rape and murder, and the chilling and methodical attempts thereafter to cover up his crimes; and that he had thus sought to minimise the true horror of what he had done.”

After Couzens’ original sentence Sarah’s family, from York, said that “knowing he will be imprisoned forever brings some relief”.

In September, they said: “We are very pleased that Wayne Couzens has received a full life sentence and will spend the rest of his life in jail.

“Nothing can make things better, nothing can bring Sarah back, but knowing he will be imprisoned forever brings some relief.

“Sarah lost her life needlessly and cruelly and all the years of life she had yet to enjoy were stolen from her.

“Wayne Couzens held a position of trust as a police officer and we are outraged and sickened that he abused this trust in order to lure Sarah to her death.

“The world is a safer place with him imprisoned.”