Trigger warning: This article references sexual assault
Metropolitan police officer Wayne Couzens has admitted to kidnapping and raping 33-year-old Sarah Everard, the BBC reports. Appearing at the Old Bailey today, Couzens pleaded guilty both to kidnap and rape. Couzens did not enter a plea on the charge of murder.
48-year-old Wayne Couzens, from Deal in Kent, worked as a uniformed patrol officer of a diplomatic premise as part of the Metropolitan Police. In March, following the discovery of Sarah Everard's body, he was charged with murder and kidnap. He was scheduled to appear at the Old Bailey on 9 July for a plea hearing, but he appeared via video link from HMP Belmarsh this morning to admit two of the three charges he faces. Couzens is due to return to the court on July 9 when the murder charge is expected to be addressed, with a provisional trial still set for October. Members of Sarah Everard's family were in court to hear the defendant make the pleas.
Sarah was reported missing on 4 March by her boyfriend, who was unable to contact her after she walked home from a friend's house. Following a week of extensive searches, Sarah Everard's body was found in an area of woodland in Ashford, Kent. A post-mortem examination recently revealed she died as a result of compression of the neck. The first post-mortem had proven inconclusive.
Following Sarah's death, a vigil was held on Clapham Common. Mourners including Kate Middleton visited the site with flowers and candles to pay their respects to Sarah Everard and to stand in solidarity for women’s safety.
Our thoughts remain with Sarah Everard's family during this exceptionally difficult time.
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