London police officer gets life without parole for abducting, killing Sarah Everard

Sylvia Hui | Associated Press |

This updated file photo issued by the Metropolitan police shows Sara Everard (Photo credit: AP)

LONDON — A former London police officer was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole Thursday for the kidnapping, rape and murder of a woman he tricked into his car using his police identification and COVID-19 laws.

Wayne Couzens, 48, was accused of falsely arresting 33-year-old Sarah Everard for violating lockdown restrictions as she walked home from visiting a friend in south London on March 3. Prosecutors said Couzens, who was on the Metropolitan Police force at the time, handcuffed Everard, drove her far outside the city, and then raped and killed her.

He had pleaded guilty to the charges.

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This undated file photo issued by the Metropolitan Police shows Sarah Everard.

In handing down the sentence, Justice Adrian Fulford described the details of the case as “devastating, tragic and wholly brutal.” Couzens went “hunting a lone female to kidnap and rape,” having planned the crime in “unspeakably” grim detail, the judge said.

“You have eroded the confidence that the public are entitled to have in the police forces of England and Wales,” Fulford told the ex-officer, who had finished working an overnight shift at the U.S. Embassy on the day he kidnapped Everard.

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