The moment police finally tracked down killer Wayne Couzens revealed in new Sarah Everard documentary

BBC documentary ‘Sarah Everard: The Search for Justice’ looks into crime that shocked the nation three years on

Amy-Clare Martin
Crime Correspondent
Monday 04 March 2024 00:01 GMT
Couzens could have been traced before Sarah Everard’s murder, judge says

Detectives who arrested Sarah Everard’s killer, Wayne Couzens, have described the moment the colour drained from his face after they knocked on his front door.

The harrowing new documentary into a crime that shocked the nation reveals how the Metropolitan Police tracked down a killer hiding in their ranks after he falsely arrested Ms Everard, 33, before raping and murdering her.

The marketing executive was snatched by Couzens, who was working with the force’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection unit, while she was walking home in Clapham, south London, on 3 March 2021 sparking a desperate search. Her burnt body was eventually found dumped in a woodland.

‘Sarah Everard: The Search for Justice’ looks at the murder three years later (BBC Studios)

In the hour-long BBC documentary, Detective Chief Inspector Katherine Goodwin recalls the moment she discovered their prime suspect was a serving Metropolitan Police officer.

At the time, a team of officers was racing with blue lights from their London headquarters to his home in Deal, Kent, on 9 March after CCTV from a passing bus captured footage of Couzens’ hire car parked at the side of the road with Ms Everard.

“Whilst Nick and his team were running on blue lights to, to get some control over the address, one of my detective sergeants came running into the office and said, ‘We need to shut the door. You need to hear this’,” she said.

“He then put one of our researchers on speaker phone and she said, ‘He’s a police officer. He’s a serving officer in the Met. He currently works for the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Group’.

“I knew that I had to tell my, my boss, and I can just remember the shock of having to just sit on the floor of the office and say to her, ‘You’re not gonna believe this, that he’s a police officer’.”

Wayne Couzens was a serving police officer when he killed Sarah Everard (Supplied)

At Couzens’ home in Deal, the arresting officer, Nick Harvey, said his team “went silent” with shock when he was told the man they were about to arrest was a serving officer.

“We knocked on the door. Actually, he opened it. I just put my foot straight into the door. I showed him my warrant card and he just went grey. Just... all the colour just ran out of his face,” he recalled.

Inside, the killer fed officers a concocted story about his family being threatened by gangsters if he did not deliver a girl to them, before vowing: “If I honestly could tell you anything else, then you’d have it right now. Honestly. Honestly.”

Her remains were found the following day after officers tracked his mobile phone to Hoad’s Wood, in Ashford, where his family owned a plot of land.

DCI Goodwin added: “I then went to see Sarah’s family, and we told them that we’d found a body and that we believed it was Sarah’s. Which, as you can imagine, is just the most horrific news you can deliver to someone’s loved ones.”

Sarah Everard’s killing outraged the country (PA)

Prosecutor Tom Little KC said it was the breach of trust after the officer used his warrant card to trick Ms Everard into getting into his car that helped secure a rare whole life order for Couzens – who will never be released from prison.

Although the case prompted a nationwide outcry about women’s safety and violence against women and girls, he fears the crisis is not getting any better.

“I don’t think that the incidences of violence against women and girls are reducing or decreasing in any way. In fact, it would appear to me that it’s getting worse,” he added.

Emma Loach, who commissioned the BBC documentary, said: “The murder of Sarah Everard sent shock waves across the country and ignited an urgent conversation about police failings and violence against women and girls.

“This is an important and timely film and we, like Sarah’s family, hope it will contribute to the ongoing dialogue around the issues raised.”

Sarah Everard: The Search for Justice on Tuesday 5 March, 9pm, BBC One and iPlayer.

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