A London police officer was sentenced to life in prison without parole Thursday for the kidnap, rape and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard earlier this year.
Wayne Couzens, 48, abducted Everard on March 3 after falsely arresting her for violating COVID-19 restrictions in London. Prosecutors said Thursday Couzens drove Everard to a secluded area in a rental car where he raped and murdered her, before burning the body and clothing afterward, NBC News reported.
2/ Our police are there to protect us – and I know that officers will share in our shock and devastation at the total betrayal of this duty. People must be able to walk on our streets without fear of harm and with full confidence that the police are there to keep them safe.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) September 30, 2021
Everard’s body was found one week later more than 50 miles southeast of London. Defense attorney Jim Sturman asked for leniency, arguing that Couzens had spared the Everard family some grief by pleading guilty and claiming his client was filled with shame over his actions, according to the outlet.
But Lord Justice Fulford said Couzens deserved the rare sentence of a full life term in prison because of the crime and that he showed no evidence of genuine remorse. He also said the murder hurt public confidence in police due to the way Couzens abused his power to kidnap Everard under false pretenses, NBC reported.
The Metropolitan Police released a statement Wednesday, saying the force is “sickened, angered and devastated by this man’s crimes which betray everything we stand for.” (RELATED: Gabby Petito And Brian Laundrie: Everything You Need To Know)
Couzens joined the force in 2018 and had worked a shift guarding the U.S. Embassy in London the day of the crime, according to the outlet.