TWISTED Wayne Couzens "went out hunting for a lone female to kidnap and rape" before identifying Sarah Everard as his victim.
The sick ex-cop hatched his evil plan in "unspeakably" grim detail and "likely" knew he would kill on the night of the abduction.
He circled London's streets in a hired vehicle looking for a victim to snatch, rape and murder – and spotted Sarah, 33, walking back from a friend's house in Clapham.
He produced his warrant card as he tricked her into a fake arrest before driving her out of the capital.
The judge said he has "no doubt" Couzens hired a car that was credible as a police vehicle.
And as he was sentenced to life behind bars, Lord Justice Fulford said given the months of planning and preparation, Couzens must have realised he may have to kill the woman he kidnapped and raped.
The judge added that Couzens tried to "minimise his true responsibility" for what had occurred from the moment he spoke to police.
He said the defendant must have realised he "may well need to kill the woman he intended to abduct and rape" but that did not become a "definite outcome" before events began to unfold.
Sentencing Wayne Couzens for murder, Lord Justice Fulford said the circumstances of the case are "devastating, tragic and wholly brutal".
The judge said Sarah was "a wholly blameless victim" of a "grotesque" series of offences which culminated in her death and disposal of her body.
The evidence gathered against Couzens was "unanswerable" and there was "no credible innocent explanation" for it, he said.
The defendant's preparations, which began months before his crimes, included taking some of his police kit with him and lying to his family about working on the night of the murder, the Old Bailey heard.
The killer cop, whose nickname was "The Rapist" among colleagues, also bought petrol, hairbands, and rubble bags during his premeditated plot.
On February 10, twisted Couzens purchased a “police standard-issue handcuff key with double locking pin” from Amazon, costing him £2.49.
Then, on February 28, he rented the car used to snatch Sarah using his name, address and two different mobile phones.
Minutes later, he bought a 600mm by 100mm roll of self-adhesive film from Amazon to use in the attack.
The next morning after he raped and murdered Sarah, he drove to Sandwich and disposed of Sarah's phone – before driving to a petrol station.
There, he filled up his own car and also filled up a can of petrol in a jerry can – later used to burn her body.
And Couzens was seen buying two large green rubble bags from B&Q on March 5 – the same day he called his work to say he was "suffering from stress" and was unable to work.
As part of his grim killing kit, the monster also purchased carpet protector, tarpaulin, and a cargo net on March 7.
And he also then emailed his boss to say he didn't want to carry firearms anymore.
On March 8 he was seen entering Homebase to collect a flat packed trolley he bought.
On March 9, his phone was reset to factory settings – in a bid to remove any evidence on it.
Just 30 minutes later, police entered his home and he was handcuffed and arrested.
In court, he was painted as a sex mad fiend despite portraying the image of a married dad-of-two and even contacted escorts and used a Match.com dating profile.
Couzens spun a web of lies after he was arrested – meaning Sarah's heartbroken family and the police never found out the real reason why he snatched and strangled Sarah.
Bizarrely, Couzens claimed he had "no choice" but to kidnap Sarah, who was a stranger to him, for a human trafficking gang.
He was in debt by about £29,000 with additional credit card debt at the time he murdered Sarah.
Couzens previously claimed he was unable to pay for a prostitute he met in a Holiday Inn in Folkestone so was ordered to find "another girl" otherwise his family would be harmed.
Sarah Everard's tragic last moments revealed…
- A couple saw Sarah Everard being kidnapped by Wayne Couzens and assumed it was ‘undercover arrest’
- Sarah Everard’s brave mum ‘haunted by the horror’ of daughter’s final hours as dad tells killer to face them in court
- Wayne Couzens handcuffed & ‘arrested’ Sarah Everard in ‘fake Covid patrol’ to kidnap her off street before murder
- Killer cop Wayne Couzens used his police belt to strangle Sarah Everard after luring her off street in fake arrest
- Wayne Couzens took family on ‘day out’ to woods after burning Sarah Everard’s body and let kids play near her remains
- Shocking CCTV shows moment Wayne Couzens lured Sarah Everard off street in staged fake Covid stop
- Chilling moment Wayne Couzens bought Costa hot chocolate and bakewell tart after murdering Sarah Everard
- Sarah Everard’s mum, dad and sister’s incredibly powerful and brave victim statements revealed in full
In a clip released by the Met Police, Couzens is seen handcuffed as cops quiz him over the young woman's disappearance.
Couzens insisted he did not know Sarah or know where she was, feigning ignorance as detectives showed him her photo and told him her family was desperate for answers.
But after declaring he had no idea where she was, the sick cop – who had planned the abduction for weeks before tricking the 33-year-old pretending to quiz her in a Covid patrol – suddenly changed and "confessed."
He had in fact been involved – constructing a ludicrous fake story involving a Romanian gang to cover his tracks.
In the clip, Couzens can be heard telling the officers: "I am in financial s***.
"I have been lent on by…I don't know who they are. A group, a gang, whatever.
"They told me I need to go and pick up girls and give them to them so, I said – happily.
"And it then came through that there are going to harm my family and take them away and use them instead.
"At that point, I had no option to try and find somebody.
"So I don't – a couple of names. I was told a place to take her that's it, that's all I know."
Couzens had planned the sick abduction before snatching Sarah off the street, driving her hours away before raping and strangling her with his police belt before burning her body.
But in a sickening string of lies, Couzens fabricated an elaborate story about how the gang made him abduct the young woman before they took her while slamming him against the car.
He continued his sick and twisted lie about how he was "forced" to snatch Sarah, saying: "I parked my car up. The van came up behind me and flashed me, and they all jumped out. And they took this girl.
PLANNED THE SICK ABDUCTION
"They said 'you've done good.'
"And I don't know if my family is going to be all right still. They threatened to take my family away from me.
"At that point, I'm doing what I can to protect my family."
Harrowing details of Sarah's murder were revealed as the Met Police officer was sentenced for kidnap, rape and murder.
Sarah's brave parents stood up and read out powerful impact statements – while sitting through the painful final moments that their beloved daughter went through.
They watched the horrific CCTV footage where Couzens targets and kidnaps Sarah before she was put into his car.
The Old Bailey heard how Couzens used his warrant card to lure Sarah into his car as she walked home by claiming he was on a Covid patrol.
Gun cop Couzens, who joined the Met Police in 2018, was charged with kidnap and murder more than a week after Sarah first vanished when police swooped on his home in Deal, Kent.
The cop, who worked on the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command unit, had finished a shift earlier on the morning of March 3 and was not on duty at the time of Sarah's disappearance.
Despite wiping his phone, data on the device linked Couzens to the abduction and eventually the area where Sarah was found.
While in custody, former mechanic Couzens was twice taken to hospital with head injuries.
Questions are now mounting over why Couzens was even still on the force following a wave of indecent exposure claims made against him.
Shockingly, Couzens was not given enhanced vetting when he joined the Met’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Unit in February 2020.
This was despite colleagues in the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, where he worked before the Metropolitan Police, nicknaming him 'The Rapis't.
Twelve police officers are being investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct for gross misconduct over matters relating to the case.
The watchdog is probing whether the Met failed to investigate two allegations of indecent exposure relating to Couzens just four days before he took Sarah.
A separate investigation is also ongoing into claims Kent Police failed to follow up on an allegation of indecent exposure in Dover in 2015.
The Met issued a statement today ahead of the hearing, saying they are "sickened, angered and devastated" by Couzens' actions.
Timeline of Wayne Couzens’ twisted plot
THIS is how predator Wayne Couzens planned and carried out the random kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard – and how their paths tragically crossed.
*10. February. Buys a “police standard issue handcuff key with double locking pin” from Amazon, costing £2.49.
*28 Feb. While on a night shift, books a hire car online for period of 5pm on March 3 to 9.30am on March 4, costing £65.40.
Two minutes later, orders a 600m x 100m roll of self-adhesive carpet protector film from Amazon, costing £31.95.
7am. Clocks off work at Lillie Road base.
4.15pm. Seen on CCTV driving family Seat in a southerly on North Military Road, Dover, close to a former family garage business where he worked for nearly 20 years.
4.50pm. Couzens drives a white Vauxhall Crossland away from Enterprise, and returns to his own car, before driving to London.
5.50pm. Sarah Everard leaves home. She walks to Sainsbury’s on Brixton Hill to buy a bottle of red wine before heading towards Clapham Junction.
5.54pm. Couzens goes to a McDonalds drive through at Park Farm, Folkestone and also gets petrol from a nearby Sainsburys.
6.30pm Sarah arrives at her friend’s flat. They ate, and drank the bottle of wine.
8pm. Couzens went to Tesco on West Cromwell Road in Kensington and bought items which he used in the rape.
8.15pm. Couzens drove the car around the Earls Court area
8.35pm Couzens drove over Battersea Bridge towards Lavender Hill in Clapham.
8.54pm Couzens crossed the river again and drove around Earls Court.
9.10pm Sarah leaves her friend’s flat in good spirits.
9.13pm Sarah calls boyfriend, Josh Lowth.
9.28pm The phone call with Josh ends. They had made plans for the rest of the week.
9.34pm Bus footage shows Couzens’ car pulled up on the pavement on Poynder’s Road. Sarah seen standing facing Couzens, who is showing her his warrant card.
9.37pm Dashcam footage shows Sarah in the rear passenger’s seat of Couzens’ car. He is in the driver’s seat.
9.38pm. The car moves of east along Poynders Road. He drives through South London onto the M20 to Folkestone.
11.30pm Couzens arrives in Dover in the hire car.
11.43pm. Couzens is seen in his own car, a Seat, as it pulls away from North Military Road, where it was parked, to A256 after transferring Sarah into it.
00.45. Couzens’ car in Sibertswold, north west of Dover, where he is thought to have raped Sarah.
02.34am. Couzens goes into BP Dover South Services and buys drinks. By now, he has strangled Sarah.
3.21am Couzens’ car is seen near the south of Hoads Wood. He drives around the Ashford area. It is not known what he was doing.
6.32am Couzens’ car is seen driving away from the woods.
7.15am Couzens returns to Dover and parks his own car back on North Military Road.
8.14am Couzens goes to Costa Coffee in Biggin Street, Dover, and buys a hot chocolate with coconut milk and a bakewell tart.
8.30am Couzens returns the hire car having driven just over 300 miles.
8.40am Couzens gets back in his own car and drives off.
9.20am-9.37am Couzens goes to Sandwich and disposes of Sarah Everard’s phone in the River Stour. He then goes home.
11.32am The dentist calls Couzens to rearrange dental appointments for his kids.
10.39-11.22am Couzens drives to Dover.
11.05am Couzens goes to BP Petrol station, fills his own car up, then fills up a can of petrol. He buys a coffee there then goes to McDonalds in Whitfield.
12.11pm Couzens arrives back at Hoads Wood.
12.45pm A witness sees a large orange and yellow flame in Hoads Wood around 25m from the road. He sees a small white good appliance either beside or near the fire.
Early afternoon Couzens calls Lakeview Vets to make an appointment for the family dog, Maddy.
1.43pm Couzens enters B&Q in Dover and buys two builders bags then drives to Hoads Wood. He moves Sarah’s body from where he had set fire to it to the pond where it was found.
Couzens remains at home for most of the day.
Couzens orders a blue tarpaulin sheet and bungee cargo net from Amazon.
10.09pm Couzens emails his boss to say he does not want to carry firearms anymore.
10.48am Couzens, his wife, and two kids go to Hoads Wood for a family trip.
He is seen by a witness who hears children’s voices in the wood.
8.05pm Couzens reserves a cart from Homebase online.
6.27am Couzens purchases items at a petrol station in Folkestone and then a drive-thru McDonalds in Folkestone.
10.03am Couzens went to Homebase in Folkestone, to collect a flat packed trolley.
10.10am Couzens took his car to an automatic car wash in Folkestone.
3.38pm Couzens buys £50 worth of diesel from a BP garage at Whitfield Services then attends his police base in Lillie Road.
4pm Couzens was supposed to attend a first aid training course for work and text his colleague to say he was sick
6.52pm Couzens enters the police base on foot and told the Sergeant at Lille Road that he wanted to hand in his "blue card". He heads in the direction of his locker and changing room. He then travelled home.
9.40am Couzens returned to Homebase to get a replacement for the trolley.
5.45pm Police first attend Couzens' address but do not approach it.
7.11pm Couzens' phone was reset to factory settings.
7.45pm Police entered Couzens' home and Couzens was handcuffed, arrested and interviewed. His home was searched. Couzens gave an interview over 35 minutes where he provided a false explanation.
11.40pm Couzens was taken to Wandsworth Police Station where his detention was authorised.
Police search dogs were sent to Hoads Wood and small searches were undertaken.
Morning – An extensive search of Hoads Wood was undertaken and dogs led the team to a bag in the pond. Sarah's badly burnt body was found.
Post-mortem concludes Sarah was strangled.
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