What happened to Sarah Everard? Timeline of 33-year-old’s disappearance as Wayne Couzens report published

Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens was sentenced to life in jail after pleading guilty to kidnap, rape and murder of 33-year-old

Kate Ng,Sam Hancock,Samuel Osborne
Thursday 29 February 2024 09:20 GMT
Sarah Everard’s body found in Kent, police confirm

The findings of an independent report into killer police officer Wayne Couzens is set to criticise Kent Constabulary and the Metropolitan Police for missing warning signs before the rape and murder of Sarah Everard.

‌The former Scotland Yard officer indecently exposed himself three times before the murder, including twice at a drive-through fast food restaurant in Kent, but was not caught despite driving his own car at the time.

He went on to kidnap, rape and murder marketing executive Sarah Everard in March 2021.

Follow our live blog on the publication of the findings by clicking here

A report on the first part of a Home Office-commissioned inquiry into his policing career by Dame Elish Angiolini is to be published on Thursday morning.

Here is a timeline of key events in Ms Everard’s disappearance in 2021:

Wednesday, 3 March

Ms Everard goes missing after leaving a friend’s house in Clapham, south London, at about 9pm.

Saturday, 6 March

The Metropolitan Police issues an appeal over Ms Everard’s disappearance and releases a CCTV image of her. Police say she is thought to have walked through Clapham Common after leaving her friend’s flat and heading towards her home in Brixton. The journey should have taken around 50 minutes.


Sunday, 7 March

Police release footage taken from a private doorbell-type camera showing Ms Everard walking alone along the A205 Poynders Road towards Tulse Hill, south of Brixton. It is unclear if she reached home.

She was last seen wearing a green rain jacket, navy blue trousers with a white diamond pattern, and turquoise and orange trainers, and was thought to have been wearing green earphones and a white beanie hat.

The investigation into her disappearance is being led by Scotland Yard’s Specialist Crime Command because of the “complex nature” of the probe, which combines searches with house-to-house enquiries.

Monday, 8 March

Scotland Yard says it remains “open minded as to all possibilities” over Ms Everard’s disappearance, confirming the search remains a missing persons investigation.

Specialist officers are drafted in from a cross the force and police say they received more than 120 calls from the public regarding the case. They ask anyone who may have relevant dash cam or other footage to come forward.

Tuesday, 9 March

Sniffer dogs search gardens in streets around the search site near Ms Everard’s envisaged route home and in the nearby Oaklands Estate. Officers also search a pond in Clapham Common and drains along the A205.

Fresh images of Ms Everard are also released of her wearing the coat in which she disappeared, in another appeal for the public’s help. Later that day, the Met sets up a cordon around the Poynders Court housing complex on Poynders Road as part of the search, with forensics officers seen examining the area.

Midnight, Tuesday 9 March

The Met announces it has arrested a police officer at an address in Kent in connection with Ms Everard’s disappearance.

Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave says the fact the man is a serving police officer is “both shocking and deeply disturbing”. The Met says a woman has also been arrested at the same location on suspicion of assisting an offender.

The man and woman have been taken into custody. Detective chief inspector Katherine Goodwin says the force is still “doing everything we can to find Sarah”.

Morning, Wednesday 10 March

The Met reveals the officer arrested on Tuesday was not on duty at the time of Ms Everard’s disappearance, but Asst Comm Ephgrave initially refuses to provide details of the offence on which the officer has been arrested on suspicion of or how long he has served on the force.

Detectives begin searching two locations in Kent including a property in Deal and woodland near Ashford. A tent was erected outside a house in Freemens Way, in Deal, and a car was seen being taken away from the property.

A neighbour told ITV News that a police officer lives at the address with his wife and two children. “They just seemed like a normal, regular family, there was nothing strange about them at all,” she said, adding police were digging up the garden.

Ms Everard’s uncle, Nick, talks to the media to say the family are “distraught” – and that “things are utterly dire”. He tells Sky News they are “waiting for positive news from the police”.

Afternoon, Wednesday 10 March

Scotland Yard confirms the police officer arrested over Ms Everard’s disappearance has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

He is later identified as Wayne Couzens, a 48-year-old serving in the force’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command.

He was held on Tuesday evening on suspicion of kidnap, before being further arrested on suspicion of murder and a separate allegation of indecent exposure.

Evening, Wednesday 10 March

Metropolitan Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick announces human remains have been found during the search for Ms Everard.

The discovery was made in an area of woodland in Ashford, Kent. Police have yet to identify the remains.

Morning, Thursday 11 March

Police continue to question the officer arrested on suspicion of the kidnap and murder of Ms Everard.

Afternoon, Thursday 11 March

The Metropolitan Police reveals the officer suspected of kidnapping and murdering Ms Everard has been taken to hospital for a head wound sustained while in custody.

Scotland Yard says the suspect has been treated, discharged and returned to the police station where he is being held.

Ms Everard’s family say she “was kind and thoughtful, caring and dependable” as they appeal for information about the 33-year-old’s disappearance.

The police watchdog announces it has launched an investigation into whether Metropolitan Police officers "responded appropriately" to a report of indecent exposure following referrals linked to the arrest of the suspect in the case.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) says its independent probe follows a "conduct referral" from the force in relation to two officers, which was received on Wednesday night.

This is linked to four other referrals, and all are connected to the arrest of the officer currently being held on suspicion of kidnapping and murdering Ms Everard and for a separate allegation of indecent exposure, the IOPC said.

Afternoon, Friday 12 March

Police confirm Sarah Everard’s body has been found in Kent.

A serving Met Police officer, who was arrested on suspicion of Ms Everard’s kidnap and murder, remains in custody.

Assistant commissioner Nick Ephgrave reveals a body found in Kent earlier in the week has been formally identified as Ms Everard’s.

Speaking outside New Scotland Yard, he tells the media: “As you know, on Wednesday evening detectives investigating the disappearance of Sarah Everard discovered a body secreted in woodland in Kent.

“The body has now been recovered and formal identification procedure has now been undertaken. I can now confirm that it is the body of Sarah Everard.”

The Met Police confirms the officer suspected of murdering Ms Everard was accused of exposing himself not just once, but twice, at a south London fast food restaurant three days before her disappearance. Both allegations are the subject of an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation.

The Met said: “On 28 February the Met created a crime report in relation to two separate indecent exposure incidents at a fast food restaurant in south London. It would be inappropriate to comment further given the IOPC investigation.”

Evening 12 March

Mr Couzens is charged with the kidnap and murder of Ms Everard. The Metropolitan Police announce the police officer has been taken to hospital for a second time in 48 hours for treatment to a fresh head injury sustained in custody. He was then again discharged and returned to police custody.

Saturday 13 March

Mr Couzens is brought before Westminster Magistrates’ Court, charged with Ms Everard’s kidnap and murder. The 48-year-old police officer is remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on 16 March. He does not indicate a plea.

Tuesday 16 March

Mr Couzens makes his first appearance at the Old Bailey by video link from Belmarsh top security jail in south London. Wearing a red sweatshirt and grey jogging bottoms, the defendant appears to have a wound on his forehead. He speaks only to confirm his name and date of birth. Judge Mark Lucraft QC sets a provisional Old Bailey trial for 25 October with a plea hearing on 9 July.

Thursday 18 March

An inquest opens into the death of the 33-year-old marketing executive. Her parents, brother and sister watch proceedings via video-link. The hearing takes less than half an hour and sees inquest proceedings opened and adjourned pending the outcome of the criminal investigation. A second post-mortem is carried out after the first proved inconclusive.

Tuesday 1st June

Police reveal a post-mortem has found Ms Everard died from compression of the neck.

Tuesday 8th June

Mr Couzens appears at the Old Bailey, where he pleads guilty to the kidnap and rape of Ms Everard.

The court hears the 48-year-old accepts responsibility for the killing of Ms Everard but he is not asked to enter a plea to a charge of murder.

Friday 9th July

Couzens appears at the Old Bailey via video link from HMP Belmarsh, where he pleads guilty to the murder of Ms Everard.

Friday 16th July

Couzens is formally dismissed without notice from the Metropolitan Police following the conclusion of an accelerated misconduct hearing held behind closed doors.

The disgraced officer, who was attached to the force’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, is found to have breached the standards of professional behaviour in respect of discreditable conduct.

Wednesday 29th and Thursday 30th September

At the start of his two-day sentencing at the Old Bailey in London, the court heard how Ms Everard was the victim of “deception, kidnap, rape, strangulation, fire”.

Couzens snatched Ms Everard in a “false arrest”, by “handcuffing her and showing his warrant card”, the court heard on Wednesday 29 September.

Ms Everard‘s parents and sister condemned her killer as a “monster” as he sat in the dock of the Old Bailey with his head bowed.

On Thursday, Couzens was handed a whole-life prison sentence for raping and murdering Ms Everard. Lord Justice Fulford told the killer he had shown “no genuine contrition” for his “grotesque” acts and his crimes were so “exceptionally high” he should die behind bars.

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