Heartbreaking timeline of the murder that shocked Britain: How killer policeman abused Covid powers to snare Sarah Everard… before trying to cover up his monstrous crime
THE ‘FAMILY MAN’
An experienced police officer, Wayne Couzens had served as a special constable for Kent Police before moving to the Civil Nuclear Constabulary. He joined Scotland Yard as a firearms officer in September 2018.
Trusted to protect MPs and diplomats, and guarding key buildings including the US Embassy, the 48-year-old had access to firearms and body armour.
Colleagues regarded the married father of two as a ‘family man’, but in truth he was a porn-obsessed predator. Couzens, who is thought to have blown cash on escorts, had begged for a pay rise after amassing debts of almost £30,000.
He spent lockdown trawling dating sites, falsely claiming to be a single man with no children, while at least one colleague reported knowing he was ‘attracted to violent sexual pornography’ as far back as 2002.
It also emerged after his arrest that Couzens had a history of indecent exposure dating back to 2015. He is said to flashed staff at a McDonald’s days before murdering Sarah Everard.
Couzens had joined colleagues on uniformed patrols enforcing lockdown in January. This appears to have inspired his sickening plot.
Killer police officer Wayne Couzens collects a hire car at Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Dover on March 3
Sarah Everard leaves her home in Craster Road, Brixton, for an evening out
Around that time the officer was seen off-duty wearing the same police belt he used to kidnap and kill Miss Everard. He even took handcuffs and a pepper spray holder when walking his dog near his home in Deal, Kent.
Upon seeing his handcuffs, the owner of a local computer repair shop jokingly asked Couzens if he was ‘into kinky stuff’.
This provoked a chuckle from Couzens, who (falsely) told him he was an undercover officer.
Gear later recovered from his bedroom included a ballistic vest, a leather handcuff pouch, police shoulder numbers and uniform badges.
WEEKS OF PLANNING
Purchases made by Couzens show he spent almost a month preparing an attack. As early as February 10 he bought a police-issue handcuff key from Amazon for £2.49.
Sarah is on the phone as she enters Sainsbury’s on Brixton Hill
She uses the self-checkout aisle to buy a bottle of wine…
While on duty on February 28, he booked a £65.30 hire car from Enterprise Rent-a-Car in Dover, to be collected on March 3, having decided his own was too old and filthy to be passed off as a police vehicle.
Two minutes later, he ordered a £31.95 roll of self-adhesive plastic carpet-protecting film from Amazon.
HIS CALENDAR ‘ALIBI’
During his last shift guarding the US Embassy in south-west London, Couzens told colleagues he was considering leaving the Met over a pay dispute. He also said he could go off sick with stress.
Yet on the night of Miss Everard’s murder he told his family that he was working. Police later found a calendar on the kitchen fridge at his home, where Couzens had written OT, for overtime, before heading out.
…and leaves the store to visit a friend in Clapham Junction
At the precise moment Couzens abducted Miss Everard – at 9.38pm on March 3 – his wife Elena sent a message to his mother.
‘Wayne had a call for overtime shift tonight,’ she said. ‘I [was] wondering if you could pick children from school tomorrow, would you?’
HOW HE HUNTED FOR PREY
Couzens had collected his hire car from Dover at 4.15pm that day. He loaded it with police equipment, including handcuffs, after hiding his own vehicle in a quiet spot away from CCTV cameras.
He then bought a meal at McDonald’s before driving to London, circling around Earl’s Court, Battersea and Clapham as he scoured the streets for a victim.
Sarah leaves her friend’s house and starts walking home to Brixon
Miss Everard, described by a former partner as ‘savvy and streetwise’, was on her way home at 9.10pm, having had dinner with a friend in Clapham.
She is said to have been in ‘good spirits’ as she chatted to her boyfriend on the phone while walking briskly along the well-lit A205, which was busy with traffic.
The call ended at 9.28pm. It would be the last time anyone heard from her.
Couzens pulled over two minutes later, on the pretence of arresting Miss Everard for breaching lockdown rules. Dashcam footage from cars and buses travelling past captured him flashing his warrant card before reaching for his handcuffs.
Sarah walks east down Cavendish Road towards her home
Couzens’ hire car, also travelling east, passes the same camera four minutes later
THE KEY WITNESS
A couple saw Miss Everard being handcuffed as they drove home. The 33-year-old had her head down and did not appear to be arguing.
A female passenger watched Couzens walk Miss Everard to his car and put her in the back, placing a seatbelt over her so she could not move.
Rather than taking her to a police station as he no doubt claimed, the killer instead began a horrifying 80-mile drive that would result in Miss Everard’s rape and murder.
NIGHT OF TERROR
Couzens drove back to Dover and moved his captive to his own car at 11.43pm after threatening her to keep silent. Based on cameras capturing the car’s movements, police believe Miss Everard had been raped and murdered by 2.31am on March 4.
The fatal meeting between Sarah and her killer, as Couzens (right) ‘arrests’ her (left) for breaking Covid protocols
A bus CCTV camera captures Sarah in the back seat of Couzens’ car
At 2.34am the killer bought two bottles of still water, an apple juice and a bottle of Lucozade from a petrol station before heading to Hoad’s Wood at 3.21am with Miss Everard’s body in the boot of his car.
He spent the night driving hundreds of miles around Dover, Ashford and Folkestone, hoping to cover his tracks.
The next morning he was seen in the same clothes as the day before, buying a hot chocolate and Bakewell tart at a Costa Coffee at 8.14am. He then returned his hire car, having driven it for 300 miles.
Buying a hot chocolate and Bakewell tart at a Costa Coffee – wearing the very same clothes as he had the night before
At 9.30am, on his way home, Couzens disposed of Miss Everard’s phone in a flood relief channel in Sandwich – but a fragment was later found in his car.
BUSINESS AS USUAL
At 11.32am Couzens returned home. He pretended he had been working all night.
That day saw him re-arranging dental appointments for his two children. The next day he rang a local vet to make an appointment for his dog Maddy. In the bizarre call played in court, Couzens said: ‘I think she is suffering from separation anxiety… I have tried absolutely everything.’
Couzens also emailed his supervisor, complaining about his pay dispute and saying he felt ‘disillusioned’ and unable to carry on working as a firearms officer.
HIS GRIM FAMILY TRIP
On March 5, Couzens bought a can of petrol and another McDonald’s meal before heading back to Hoad’s Wood, where he had purchased a plot of land – described as ‘perfect for day trips’ – in 2019.
Buying a petrol can before heading back to Hoad’s Wood – where he had left his murdered victim’s body more than 24 hours ago
At 12.45pm on March 5, a local sees a large fire by a fridge. This was used by Couzens to burn Miss Everard’s clothing and body just yards from his own plot of land. He brought his wife and children to the woodland two days later
Couzens is seen strolling into B&Q – having already bought items from Amazon to prepare for his crime over several weeks
Couzens buying building sacks. He then returns to the woods to dump Miss Everard’s remains in a pond
At 12.45pm one local saw a large fire near a fridge. Couzens used this to dispose of Miss Everard’s clothing and burn her body 130 metres from his strip of land.
An hour later, he bought building sacks from B&Q for £9.94 and returned to the woodland, later dumping his victim’s remains in a pond. Then, on Sunday morning, Couzens drove his wife and children to the woodland, stopping for cash at Dover South Services. He had also stopped there hours after murdering Miss Everard.
Astonishingly, Couzens allowed his children to play close to where he had hidden his victim as her disappearance dominated the news.
A day later, on March 8, he was due to attend a training day but called in sick. He then drove to the Met’s diplomatic protection team base, where he stowed the kit he used to kidnap Miss Everard.
Hoad’s Wood, where Couzens returned with wife and children on Sunday March 7
Having called in sick for work, Couzens drove to his police base to get rid of the kit used in the kidnap
In handcuffs, the moment the killer is confronted by police at his home with a picture of his victim
This is the moment police confronted Wayne Couzens with a picture of Sarah Everard at his home.
The murderer was caught and handcuffed after his hire car was traced to his address.
Detectives arrived at his house in Deal, Kent, at 5.45pm on Tuesday, March 9, six days after he snatched his victim.
This is the moment police confronted Wayne Couzens with a picture of Sarah Everard at his home
But they didn’t move in for two hours, allowing Couzens – who may have spotted the plain-clothed officers – to wipe his phone at 7.11pm.
They finally moved in at 7.45pm and arrested him when his children were getting ready for bed. At first he claimed he knew nothing about Miss Everard, then spun a sickening web of lies about being forced to kidnap her for an Eastern European gang.
Claiming he was in ‘in financial s***’ after trying to ‘rip off a call girl’, he said gangsters had warned they would harm his family unless he snatched a girl.
He said the gang threatened him when he was with another prostitute and had been following him, turning up outside his home.
Detectives arrived at his house in Deal, Kent, at 5.45pm on Tuesday, March 9, six days after he snatched his victim
Couzens claimed he handed over Miss Everard alive at a roundabout by Charing Racecourse in Kent and suggested officers go to Folkestone and Maidstone Services to find the gang.
When asked where she was, he said: ‘If I could do something to get her back right this minute, I would.’ But he then added: ‘I’ll do it again tomorrow if it meant saving my family.’
A day later police discovered Miss Everard’s body.
Even as his story unravelled, the cowardly killer clung to his lies and has still refused to tell police the truth about what he did, to the enduring agony of his victim’s family.