South Shields MP welcomes whole-life sentence for Wayne Couzens after Sarah Everard murder

A South Tyneside MP has welcomed a whole-life sentence for the killer of Durham University graduate Sarah Everard.

Thursday, 30th September 2021, 2:12 pm

Emma Lewell-Buck was speaking as 48-year-old Wayne Couzens begins a full-life sentence for the abduction, rape and murder of the 33-year-old marketing executive.

Couzens, a firearms officer who had clocked off from a 12-hour shift at the American embassy that morning, strangled Sarah with his police belt after kidnapping her under the guise of a fake arrest for breaking lockdown rules.

The Old Bailey had heard how Couzens used his Metropolitan Police-issue warrant card and handcuffs to snatch Ms Everard as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham, south London, on the evening of March 3.

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Sentencing him today, Lord Justice Fulford said the seriousness of the case was so ‘exceptionally high’ that it warranted a whole life order. The ruling means Couzens will die in jail.

Speaking shortly after Couzens’ sentence was confirmed, South Shields MP took to Twitter to say: “The right sentence. Change is needed. Whilst her family have justice, their pain will last forever.”

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Police officer accepts responsibility for killing of Sarah Everard
Sarah Everard

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said the case raised profound questions for police forces nationwide: “Sarah was a daughter, a sister, a friend and Sarah was killed in the most horrific circumstances, the worst kind of male violence,” she said.

“Society is consistently failing women and girls. This case shows how horrendous the consequences can be and I am just so sorry Sarah and her family have paid the price of these failings.

“The impact statement from Sarah’s mother is one of the most heart-breaking and powerful things I have ever read. No mother should have to experience the loss, suffering and anguish conveyed in her words.

“It is beyond troubling to think his role as a Metropolitan police officer enabled him to commit these grotesque and I understand how concerning this is to women everywhere. His actions are the ultimate insult to the police officers who serve to protect people who I know are sickened to the core by his evil actions. Whilst he terrifyingly used his profession to lure Sarah, it was his misogyny that made him a killer.

Wayne Couzens

“The real worry is that there were warning signs though. He slipped through the net. How did this happen?

"There is no doubt there are some very serious questions that need to be answered. No punishment will bring Sarah back, but a whole life sentence is appropriate and I hope it brings some comfort to the family.

"We can only hope this is the beginning of real change to protect and make women’s and girls’ lives safer.”

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Emma Lewell-Buck
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness