‘Sarah Everard had no chance and now women across the country plead protect us!’
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There's something so chilling about Sarah Everard's kidnap, rape, and murder.
I think of the CCTV of her buying wine for her friend, hours before she'd come face-to-face with her murderer, PC Wayne Couzens, 48.
On her way home, Sarah was stopped by the scumbag who would later rape, murder, burn her body, and leave in woodland nearby where his children would play.
What's made the country both despairingly sad and furious is the fact Mr Couzens abused the trust we have in our officers.
The moment he displayed his warrant card; the moment he recited Covid laws; the moment he put Sarah in handcuffs; the moment he asked her to get into his car; Sarah was none the wiser.
As anyone would, she assumed it was a lawful arrest.
Why should she resist?
Even if she did resist 'arrest', an officer has the power to use reasonable force to detain a suspect.
Sarah was left with no choice.
She got into that hire vehicle under the pretence she was in the custody of an officer going about his duty.
Wayne Couzens, known as 'The Rapist' amongst his colleagues, grossly exploited the trust we all have in police officers.
That same trust Sarah had when she complied with his instructions.
I ask the question: how did a twisted creep like Couzens become a police officer in the first place?
Perhaps Dame Cressida Dick, Met Police Commissioner, can answer this one.
A man who was fronted with various sexual allegations, known to be aggressive towards women, addicted to violent pornography, was apparently not investigated for two occasions of flashings in a McDonalds – why not?
Sickos like him should never be in an office of authority, in a role that's meant to protect the public, not harm.
I'm in no doubt there are more of him out there, willing to use their powers and knowledge of police investigation to murder a woman or man walking alone at night.
So the question we're all asking, especially women: who's protecting us?
If we can't have faith in our police officers, who's out there keeping us safe from the likes of Couzens?
So many questions and so few answers.
Undoubtedly, Couzens is one of the UK's most dangerous and sinister criminals alive.
Yesterday, at the Old Bailey, he was sentenced to a whole-life order, meaning there's no minimum term and he will never be considered for release. Mr Couzens will die behind bars.
But for the women in London and across the country, who might be walking home at night coming from a friend's house, like Sarah, what reassurances do they have?
Should they live in fear for their lives, knowing that if a police officer approaches them, they might be a murderous monster like Mr Couzens?
I'm calling for the Met Police and other forces to issue a black and white statement on how they're going to safeguard women.
We need to know what's being done to end the tide of violence against innocent lives, like Sarah's, and ensure people like Mr Couzens aren't allowed near public office.
This also goes for any serving officers who currently face sexual allegations, where the thresholds for suspension must be lowered.
Sarah's family will be haunted by her violent murder for the rest of their lives.
This creature used his position in the police to inflict irreparable damage upon Sarah and her family, leaving a mother, father, siblings, and boyfriend in shatters.
In the words of Sarah's mother, Susan Everard: "I am tormented at the thought of what she endured, I play it out in my mind.
"I go through the terrible sequence of events, I wonder when she realised she was in mortal danger; I wonder what her murderer said to her.
"When he strangled her, for how long was she conscious, knowing she would die? It is torture to think of it".
We must reinstate faith in the police and that starts with Dame Cressida Dick resigning, along with an overhaul on how police investigate their own officers.
This systemic misogyny that seems to run through the veins of the Met and other forces must end.
A police officer murdered Sarah, let's not forget that.
As much as spokespersons will tell the press he was a murderer who happened to be a police officer – distancing will achieve nothing.
Take a look in the mirror, Dame Cressida, and ask how Couzens, who was accused of indecently exposing himself to women three days before the murder; along with similar accusations that stem back to 2015; nicknamed 'The Rapist' by work colleagues, was allowed to wear your uniform.
As Couzens faces the rest of his life behind prison walls, we need action and affirmation from the police and government that something is being done to protect women who now live in fear for their lives.
My thoughts are with Sarah's family.
If you have been affected by this story, contact Rape Crisis England & Wales for free confidential support and information on 08088029999 or their website or 08088010302 if you're calling from Scotland.
You can contact the Domestic and Sexual Abuse helpline on 0808 802 1414 if you are in Ireland.
Do you have a story you're itching for Ryan-Mark to cover? Email: [email protected]
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- Sarah Everard
- MET Police
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