London — A former police officer jailed for life for the kidnap, rape and murder of a London woman as she walked home is now facing four charges of indecent exposure, Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Friday. The alleged offenses took place in the Swanley area of southeast England in late January and February last year, just before Wayne Couzens killed Sarah Everard on March 3.
“Following a referral of evidence by the Metropolitan Police, the CPS has authorized four charges of indecent exposure” against Couzens, head of the CPS special crime division Rosemary Ainslie said in a statement.
Couzens, who served with the force’s diplomatic protection unit, will appear in court in London on April 13. Police said that Everard was sentenced to a life imprisonment and that Couzens will face the charges for Everard’s murder on April.
As CBS News’ Haley Ott reported, Couzens falsely arrested Everard as she walked home in south London in March 2021 on the pretense she had broken coronavirus restrictions. After robbing her and burning her body in the woods outside of London, he then murdered her.
Everard’s killing sparked widespread protests across the U.K. against violence against women and, when a vigil in Everard’s honor was roughly broken up by police, against heavy-handed policing.
“We are very pleased that Wayne Couzens has received a full life sentence and will spend the rest of his life in jail,” Everard’s family said in a statement after the verdict was handed down in September. It is impossible to make Sarah’s life better. But knowing that he will remain in prison for the rest of his life brings us some comfort. “
In response to the sentencing, the Metropolitan Police announced it would no longer deploy plain-clothed police officers on their own, and that it would only send them out in pairs, unless there were exceptional circumstances.
National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales John Apter said in a statement that, “this predator [Couzens] is an absolute disgrace to the police service, and I am totally ashamed that he was ever a police officer. Although I’m proud of having a warrant card in my possession, this criminal abuses that power has cast an ugly shadow over all who are involved with policing. Our uniform has been disgraced by him. I feel sickened by the way that he used Sarah’s trust. “
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