Chilling footage shows Wayne Couzens shopping for rubble bags, hairbands and a jerry can full of petrol he would use in the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard.
Wayne Couzens, 48, 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.
The firearms officer, who had clocked off from a 12-hour shift at the American embassy that morning, drove to a secluded rural area near Dover in Kent, where he raped Ms Everard.
In disturbing footage, released by the Met Police today, Couzens is seen on March 3, the night of Ms Everard’s disappearance, at a Tesco Superstore in Kensington, west London, at 8pm.
He buys a pack of 14 hair bands, which were said to be a ‘significant’ purchase and part of his plans.
Couzens had strangled marketing executive Ms Everard, who lived in Brixton, south London, with his police belt at or before 2.30am the following morning.
On March 5, at 11.05am, Couzens is seen buying a petrol canister and filling it up at a BP forecourt in Whitfield, Dover.
Three hours later, CCTV shows him wearing a pale blue face mask while shopping at a B&Q hardware shop in Dover, where he buys two green rubble bags for £9.94.
Pictured: A canister used by Wayne Couzens in the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard
Pictured: Items recovered from the car used by Wayne Couzens in the murder of Sarah Everard
Pictured: Part of the equipment used by Wayne Couzens in the killing of Sarah Everard
Pictured: Wayne Couzens’ equipment recovered from his police locker
Among exhibits the police used to catch Couzens was a roll of plastic floor protector tape
Pictured: Handcuffs recovered from Wayne Couzens’ work locker following the murder of Sarah Everard
Couzens bought a pack of 14 hair bands, which were said to be a ‘significant’ purchase and part of his plans
A key recovered from the car used by Wayne Couzens, who killed Sarah Everard
Ms Everard’s mother Susan said at the Old Bailey today that Couzens ‘treated my daughter as if she was nothing and disposed of her as if she was rubbish’.
She added: ‘When Sarah’s burnt remains were found, we spent two terrible days waiting for tests to show how she had died, fearing she had been set alight before she was dead – the thought was appalling.
‘Burning her body was the final insult, it meant we could never again see her sweet face and never say goodbye.’
On March 6 Couzens ordered a tarpaulin and a bungee cargo net on Amazon, which were shipped to him on March 7.
He then calls in sick on March 8, when he was due to return to work.
On March 9 his phone is wiped of all data at 7.11pm, less than an hour before he is arrested at his home in Deal, Kent, at 7.50pm.
The next day, Ms Everard’s body was discovered in a wooded area of Ashford, Kent, around 100 metres from land owned by Couzens.
Pictured: Equipment recovered from Wayne Couzens’ work locker following Ms Everard’s death
Lubricating jelly recovered from the car used by Wayne Couzens, who killed Sarah Everard
On March 5, at 11.05am, Couzens is seen buying a petrol canister and filling it up at a BP forecourt in Whitfield, Dover
Three hours later, CCTV shows him wearing a pale blue face mask while shopping at a B&Q hardware shop in Dover, where he buys two green rubble bags for £9.94
Miss Everard’s disappearance sparked a huge manhunt and led to an outpouring of anger about the safety of women on the streets
Wayne Couzens (left, in his uniform with his police belt circled; and right, in a court sketch) kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard in depraved crimes after he had finished his shift
In disturbing footage, released by the Met Police today, Couzens is seen on March 3, the night of Ms Everard’s disappearance, at a Tesco Superstore in Kensington, west London, at 8pm
She was later formally identified by dental records.
On Wednesday, Ms Everard’s parents and sister condemned her killer as he sat quaking in the dock with his head bowed at the start of his sentencing at the Old Bailey.
Her father Jeremy Everard demanded the killer look at him as he said: ‘I can never forgive you for what you have done, for taking Sarah away from us.’
‘Take off your mask and look at me: Sarah’s father Jeremy says the murder is ‘in my mind all the time’
Jeremy Everard, father of Sarah Everard
Sarah Everard, 14th June 1987 to March 2021
Sarah’s father Jeremy Everard
‘The impact of what you have done will never end. The horrendous murder of my daughter, Sarah, is in my mind all the time and will be for the rest of my life.
‘A father wants to look after his children and fix everything and you have deliberately and with pre- meditation stopped my ability to do that.
‘Sarah was handcuffed and unable to defend herself. This preys on my mind all the time. I can never forgive you for what you have done, for taking Sarah away from us.
‘You burnt our daughter’s body – you further tortured us – so that we could not see her again. We did not know whether you had burnt her alive or dead. You stopped us seeing Sarah for one last time and stopped me from giving my daughter one last kiss goodbye.
‘Her body fell apart when she was moved. Her brain and neck bones were removed for months by the pathologist and her body was difficult to preserve so we had to use the services of a specialist embalmer to enable a dignified burial.
‘All my family want is Sarah back with us. No punishment that you receive will ever compare to the pain and torture that you have inflicted on us.
‘You murdered our daughter and forever broke the hearts of her mother, father, brother, sister, family and her friends.
‘Sarah had so much to look forward to and because of YOU this is now gone forever. She was saving to buy a house and looking forward to marriage and children. We were looking forward to having grandchildren. We loved being a part of Sarah’s world and expected her to have a full and happy life. The closest we can get to her now is to visit her grave every day.’
Susan Everard said she was ‘incandescent with rage’ at what he had done, saying he disposed of her daughter ‘as if she was rubbish’.
She added: ‘I am outraged that he masqueraded as a policeman in order to get what he wanted.’
Sister Katie Everard wept as she said: ‘My only hope is that she was in a state of shock and that she wasn’t aware of the disgusting things being done to her by a monster. When you forced yourself upon her and raped her.’
Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick also attended court to hear how one of her own officers had abused his position and used his warrant card to kidnap Ms Everard ‘by fraud’ before detaining her ‘by force’.
Prosecutor Tom Little QC suggested the case was so exceptional and unprecedented that it could warrant a whole life order, meaning Couzens would die in jail.
Opening the facts of the case, he said Ms Everard’s disappearance was one of the most widely publicised missing person investigations the country has ever seen.
After her body was discovered a week later, it became summarised on social media by the hashtag ‘she was just walking home’, which did not completely describe what had happened, he said.
‘Whilst it is impossible to summarise what the defendant did to Sarah Everard in just five words, if it had to be done then it would be more appropriate to do so as deception, kidnap, rape, strangulation, fire,’ said Mr Little.
The court heard Ms Everard was described by a former long-term boyfriend as ‘extremely intelligent, savvy and streetwise’ and ‘not a gullible person’.
He said he could not envisage her getting into a car with someone she did not know ‘unless by force or manipulation’, said the prosecutor.
Couzens had worked on uniformed Covid patrols in late January to enforce coronavirus regulations, so would have known what language to use to those who may have breached them, he continued.
He is thought to have been wearing his police belt with handcuffs and a rectangular black pouch, similar to a pepper spray holder, when he kidnapped Ms Everard as she walked home.
‘The fact she had been to a friend’s house for dinner at the height of the early 2021 lockdown made her more vulnerable to and more likely to submit to an accusation that she had acted in breach of the Covid regulations in some way,’ said Mr Little.
The court heard how Couzens had booked a hire car before going out ‘hunting’ for a lone young female to kidnap and rape.
Chilling CCTV footage played in court showed Couzens raising his left arm, holding a warrant card, before handcuffing Ms Everard and putting her into the back of the car.
A passing couple witnessed the kidnapping but mistook it for an arrest by an undercover officer, the court heard.
Mr Little said: ‘She was detained by fraud. The defendant using his warrant card and handcuffs as well as his other police issue equipment to effect a false arrest.’
Couzens worked for the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command after joining the Met in 2018, having transferred from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary.
He was sacked by the force after entering guilty pleas.
Scotland Yard said in a statement ahead of the sentencing hearing: ‘We are sickened, angered and devastated by this man’s crimes which betray everything we stand for.’
Lord Justice Fulford adjourned the case until Thursday when he will hand down his sentence.