Sarah Everard’s killer Wayne Couzens will keep at least a third of his police pension because to strip it completely would infringe his human rights
Britain’s most hated policeman Wayne Couzens will not lose his entire Met pension for murdering Sarah Everard because it would infringe his human rights, it was revealed today.
Couzens, who was jailed for life with no parole for the abduction, rape and murder of Sarah, 33, will keep a third of his monthly retirement allowance.
Home Office guidelines state that no more than 65 per cent of a pension can be forfeited – in Couzens’ case this percentage relates to the amount paid by the taxpayer via the police.
But he will keep his own contributions, roughly the remaining 35 per cent, and to take that away would be a ‘clear infringement of the officer’s rights’ under the European Convention on Human Rights, judges have ruled previously.
Police forces across the country are facing calls to re-vet all officers after the string of blunders that allowed Wayne Couzens to abuse his role in the murder of Sarah Everard.
A former Met Police chief superintendent yesterday warned that other people with ‘questionable backgrounds’ may have slipped through flawed vetting procedures.
Claims emerged at the weekend that married Couzens had taken an escort to a colleague’s wedding anniversary party at the Hilton hotel in Maidstone, Kent, where he joked about paying for sex.
The former firearms officer was once nicknamed ‘the rapist’ by colleagues. At his Old Bailey trial it was revealed that Couzens was ‘attracted to brutal sexual pornography’ as far back as 2002.
Couzens, smirking here in uniform, was jailed for life with no parole for killing Sarah Everard
The beast, 48, abducted her before raping and murdering her before burning her body
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has come under fire over Couzens’ crimes
Parm Sandhu, a former Met chief superintendent who worked for the force for almost three decades, said Scotland Yard had fostered a culture where Couzens ‘was allowed to flourish’.
Miss Sandhu told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips on Sunday: ‘Everybody who works in policing now should be re-vetted. Those people who got through the vetting procedure 20 years ago, 30 years ago, all of them.’
She also said that a WhatsApp group in which the murderer and colleagues from three forces allegedly shared offensive messages was a sign of the attitudes that can be damaging to women.
Last week it emerged that two Met officers are still on duty after swapping highly offensive messages with Couzens, who was given a whole life term for the murder of Miss Everard.
Lord Stevens, who served as Met Commissioner between 2000 and 2005, has described the force’s vetting procedures as ‘not fit for purpose’. But Boris Johnson yesterday rejected calls for a public inquiry amid mounting pressure on Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick to explain how the force failed to address the killer’s past. Following a wave of criticism over the force’s handling of the scandal, the Prime Minister asked women to have confidence in police officers who he said were ‘overwhelmingly trustworthy’.
He said an internal inquiry by Scotland Yard and separate probes by the Independent Office for Police Conduct were sufficient.
Mr Johnson told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show: ‘My view is that the police do – overwhelmingly – a wonderful job and what I want is the public, and women in particular, girls and young women, women of all ages, to trust the police.’
But Priti Patel will be ‘watching very closely’ to ensure Dame Cressida improves police vetting, a minister warned last night. Solicitor general Alex Chalk said: ‘A lot of people will have real concerns about how Wayne Couzens slipped through the net and they’ll want to be absolutely satisfied if things are about to improve.’
Marketing executive Sarah Everard, 33, was snatched off the street in Clapham on March 3
Miss Everard’s family released this picture of her after Couzens was jailed for killing her
He told a fringe event at the Tory conference it was ‘absolutely right’ that the Metropolitan Police needed to improve on vetting.
However Donna Jones, the Hampshire police and crime commissioner, said that re-vetting tens of thousands of officers was ‘not a sensible use of public money’.
She told LBC: ‘We need to make sure we have got the right processes in place so that when issues are reported the police forces are acting quickly.’
Couzens kidnapped Miss Everard after using his police warrant card to stage a ‘false arrest’ on March 3, handcuffing her and claiming she was breaking Covid rules.
Met Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave has admitted that vetting procedures were not followed properly when Couzens joined the force in 2018.
But he said that Couzens would still have been accepted if his links to an indecent exposure incident in 2015 were known, because Kent Police failed to identify him as being responsible.
Couzens’s vehicle was reported to the force, where he was serving as a special constable, after a male motorist was seen driving around naked from the waist down.
But it was decided the incident did not warrant any further action and the driver was not identified.
Couzens’ name was also raised in a sex offence days before Miss Everard’s death, after two female staff at a McDonald’s in Swanley, Kent, said they were flashed by a driver on February 7 and 27.
CCTV evidence showing Couzens’s number plate had actually brought up his name as a suspect on the Met’s systems.
But officers failed to flag up that he was a serving officer and further inquiries were not made until after Miss Everard’s disappearance.
Ian Blair, who succeeded Lord Stevens as head of Scotland Yard, said ‘an absolutely forensic’ investigation similar to the Stephen Lawrence inquiry led by Lord Macpherson was needed.
He called for ‘an independent inquiry to try to discover what are the processes that allowed this man – who’s obviously a manipulative, homicidal maniac – to become a police officer’.
Patsy Stevenson, an activist who was arrested at a vigil for Miss Everard in March, said the Met had failed to address ‘systemic issues within their force’.