Wayne Couzens has a ‘sinister side’ a schoolfriend said (Image: Kent Messenger / SWNS)
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A schoolfriend of killer Wayne Couzens has told The Mirror how the evil cop once shot his friend for fun.
Warwick Lewis, 48, grew up with Couzens in Dover and described him as a cold hearted bully with a sinister side who enjoyed inflicting pain on others and even liked dressing up as a ninja.
Adultcare worker Warwick went to Mount High secondary school with Couzens in the 1990s.
He told The Mirror: “As soon as I saw his picture on the news I knew who it was and amazingly my first thought was I wasn't surprised. Did I think he would kill? No.
“But am I surprised he has now? Not one bit. I suppose that says a lot.
Couzens has now been convicted of the murder of Sarah Everard
(Image: COPYRIGHT UNKNOWN)
“It does not surprise me it is a female either because Wayne was always a wannabe bully, he would never stand up to anyone he thought might fight back.
“He was the type of person that would always be at the front of trouble but only as long as he had a couple of tough guys stood beside him.
“He would bravado it and bluff it, loved the idea of being a tough guy but he just wasn't.”
Warwick, who now lives in Crewkerne, Somerset, described how the pair got into a fight on the very first day of school and how Couzens slowly developed into a sinister presence in the town.
He explained: “I met him my first day of high school and we had a fight.
“He was very much throwing his weight around trying to establish himself as some kind of dominant male.
Couzens previously admitted Ms Everard's kidnap and rape
(Image: Kent Messenger / SWNS)
“I was a bit naïve back then, a bit of a pushover but also believed in what was right and standing up for myself so we ended up having a bit of a scuffle and that was that.
“Wayne Couzens was a bully, but mainly a wannabe bully.
“He did not quite have what it took to be a bully, he was too cowardly for that but he was controlling and liked the power I think, so made sure he was always surrounded by bullies.
“I think he liked the idea of having fear power over people.
“When he was not with them there was nothing, he was alright to be around.
“But believe it or not we ended up being friends eventually. He lived a the bottom of the road from the school and his parents would work late so friends would often pile into his house for a bit.
“It was always on his terms though, he very much liked to be in control, if we were watching a video or something he would always make sure to fast forward it to his favourite bits, he was obsessed with action movies.
Sarah Everard's murder shocked the country
“I think he lived in a bit of fantasy world to be honest, one of his favourite things to do was dress up in a ninja costume and hide about the place, he even had throwing stars.
“I supposed that is a typical kid thing in a way but I do think he got it in his mind he was a bit of a ninja in reality you know.
“There was another moment when he was dressed in a full military gear with a gas mask on his hip, I think he was an army cadet, but we were walking down the street and and old dear stopped us and asked if we were training with the Army.
“He did not miss a beat and lied that we were SAS cadets. It was not even a joke, it always stuck with me how easily he lied that day. It was like he believed it you know?”
Although they became unlikely friends Warwick said he never felt comfortable around him, something which culminated in Couzens shooting a mutual friend for fun.
Warwick said: “We got on alright at that point and would hang out together on weekends and stuff but it was never a two way friendship with Wayne, everything was all about what Wayne wanted to do you know.
Court artist sketch of Couzens at a previous hearing
“I always remember him producing an air gun once and sneaking into the school and shooting all the windows out in one of the rooms.
“He then later used that gun to shoot a friend for fun.
“No one could believe what they were seeing, we were all in his house messing about and out of nowhere her just picks up the gun and shoots him.
“Now it was just an air gun but those things could penetrate metal.
“He shot our friend right in the testicles, he screamed in pain and took his pants off there and then fearing the worst but thankfully he was just bruised.
“It was the weirdest thing, and it came from nowhere, and it was just bang, he shot him, just for the fun of it.
“We were all shocked, none of us could believe what he had just done, and he just thought it was funny.”
Metropolitan Police at the scene of the grim discovery
After that Warwick said few people wanted little to do with dangerous Couzens and he suddenly disappeared from school after being beaten so badly he ended up in intensive care.
But not before a deeply sinister incident in which Warwick realised Couzens had laid a trap for him and his friend one day.
He said:“None of us went back there for a while after that but he soon started hanging round with another lad who was a real bully and made a few people's lives hell for a while.
“One day Wayne and invited me and my best mate back to his house but when we got there I noticed the other lad was there too.
“It was a total set-up and I refused to go in but my mate did anyway but this other lad was U16 boxing champion and a power lifter.
“So my mate went in anyway and realised it was a set-up and they were going to do something to him but luckily he managed to get out and that was the moment I decided I never really wanted anything do with him again.
Couzens now faces life in jail
“Something was not right about that lad, it was like he enjoyed hurting others. He set that up, he lured us back there.”
Not long after Couzens, who seemed to becoming more erratic and violent, vanished from school, never to be same again.
Warwick explained: “The next thing I can remember quite strongly is a result of Wayne growing a bit big for his boots quite frankly, one day he decided to try and take on the lad that made him feel so powerful but ended up being beaten so badly he was in intensive care.
“I think Wayne was stopped there, I think he was beginning to think he was this hard guy and turned on the very person making him feel that way but got a kicking.
“He was punched to the ground and then stomped on until he wasn't moving anymore, he was probably lucky to survive that to be honest looking back.
“As far as I remember he never came back to school after that, I think we were told he was too scared to come back.”