Wayne Couzens was arrested after the disappearance of Sarah Everard in early 2021
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Wayne Couzens has pled guilty to the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard.
Metropolitan PC Wayne Couzens, 48, worked for an elite Westminster-based unit which protects diplomats, VIPs and high-profile buildings in the capital.
The married dad-of-two is being held in Belmarsh jail. He was arrested from his home in Deal, Kent, in March 2021, just six days after Ms Everard went missing in Clapham.
On March 3, Couzens, who had finished a 12-hour shift in South London, abducted Sarah in a hire car as she walked home from a friend's house in Clapham at around 9pm.
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Wayne Couzens has plead guilty to the murder, rape and kidnap of Sarah Everard at the Old Bailey over video link
(Image: Kent Messenger / SWNS)
The Met Police said the suspect was not on duty at the time of the disappearance.
At about 9pm on March 3, she left a friend's home in Clapham and began walking towards her house in Brixton, a journey that would normally take about 50 minutes.
She last spoke to her boyfriend, Josh Lowth, on the phone for about 15 minutes, and a doorbell camera showed her walking along the A205 Poynders Road at about 9.30pm.
Sarah Everard, 33, was a marketing executive who lived in Brixton
(Image: Missing People)
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After six days of searching, officers arrested one of their colleagues.
Human remains were found in woods near Ashford, Kent, some 50 miles from where Ms Everard was last seen, and police confirmed it was a kidnap and murder investigation.
Her family paid tribute to her, saying she "brought so much joy to our lives" and was a "shining example to us all".
The abduction and murder has since prompted a serious discussion about violence against women and the different attitudes men and women have towards personal safety.
Here is everything we know about the man arrested on suspicion of kidnap and murder.
Serving police officer
Police officer Couzens is pictured at work in 2008
(Image: Kent Messenger / SWNS)
Dover-born Couzens is a married dad-of-two and a constable with the Metropolitan Police.
Police arrested him at his terraced house in the coastal town of Deal, where he lived with his Ukraine-born wife Elena, a 38-year-old laboratory manager, and their two young children.
The couple met more than 10 years ago.
A woman in her 30s, who was arrested at the same address on suspicion of assisting an offender has been released
The town is about 75 miles south-west of Clapham.
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Two years in Army Reserves
Couzens, the eldest of two boys, was a mechanic at a Dover garage which was run by his family for decades until it closed in 2015, when his father Ray retired.
He was a member of the Army Reserves, serving in the 3rd battalion, the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, for two years from 2002, the Times reported.
Online photos show him wearing fatigues.
Following Sarah's disappearance, police were searching military tunnels in Dover which back onto the site of the family garage.
Couzens is said to have transferred to the Met Police in 2018.
The officer worked in the Westminster-based Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, which protects VIPs and guards sites such as the Palace of Westminster, Downing Street and embassies.
Couzens was primarily assigned to guard embassies in London, a source told the Telegraph.
It is claimed he worked a six-hour relief shift at the American Embassy in Nine Elms, about three miles from where Ms Everard went missing, until 8pm the night of the alleged abduction.
Couzens is a married dad-of-two who lived in Kent before his arrest
It is understood Couzen's car was identified after Police found evidence on CCTV footage from a camera fixed to a bus that had been travelling along the route where she disappeared the night of March 3.
A car linked to the murder suspect was allegedly spotted on a motorist’s dashcam near to where Ms Everard was last seen, and tracked by ANPR cameras, the Sun reported.
'No link to Sarah'
Couzens was initially arrested on suspicion of kidnap, and was further arrested on suspicion of murder.
It is understood police do not believe Ms Everard and Couzens knew each other or had met previously.
Police sources told the Times that detectives believe she was lured off the street, and the investigation is being treated as a "stranger attack".
Officers had spent days searching devices and social media for digital evidence, the sources added.
A police officer walks past a missing poster during a search in Brixton
A map of locations in the disappearance of Sarah Everard
Couzens was taken to hospital after being found unconscious in a cell at Wandsworth police station following his arrest, on his third day in custody.
The suspect suffered the injury while alone in a cell, said police.
He was being monitored by CCTV and received "immediate first aid", the force added.
He was later discharged from hospital and returned to a cell.
Neighbours have spoken of their shock following Couzens' arrest.
They told the Times that he was shirtless and handcuffed when he was led out of his house and taken away in a car.
A witness said she saw two men in a Land Rover watching the house before they went to the door two hours later.
A tent is seen in front of Couzens' home in Deal, Kent
Between 15 and 20 more officers were hidden around the corner as the house was stormed, the neighbour added.
It is said he was arrested after returning from a shift in London.
Speaking as the house was searched by police, neighbours said they often saw or spoke to Couzens, a motorbike enthusiast, and his family, describing them as friendly and polite.
They said they had seen him wearing his police uniform in the past.
Neighbours claimed police were digging up the garden.
Forensic officers in blue suits were seen going through the house and garage. Two cars were removed from the property.
Police 'utterly appalled'
The arrest sent shockwaves through the Met Police and prompted a rare statement from Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, who spoke of her anger as she attempted to shore up public confidence in her officers.
In a televised address, she said the arrest of a serving police officer had "sent waves of shock and anger through the public and through the whole of the Met".
She added: "I speak on behalf of all my colleagues in the Met when I say we are utterly appalled at this dreadful news.
"Our job is to patrol the streets and to protect people."
Family defends suspect
Members of Couzens' family defended him following his arrest.
His mother-in-law, Nina Sukhoreba, told the Telegraph from her home in Kirovograd, Ukraine: “He could not do anything like this. He is a wonderful family man, a wonderful man. This just sounds crazy to me.”
She added: “I talked to my daughter just yesterday and she didn’t tell me anything.
"She said Wayne was at work and everything was fine."