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British police officer admits kidnapping, raping woman whose death caused national outcry

Floral tributes to kidnap, rape victim Sarah Everard
Floral tributes and messages to Sarah Everard, whom a London police officer admitted to kidnapping and raping before her death.
(Alberto Pezzali / Associated Press)

A British police officer has pleaded guilty to the kidnap and rape of a woman as she walked home in London and whose body was found a week later in the woods.

A court at London’s Old Bailey heard Tuesday that Wayne Couzens, 48, accepted responsibility for the death of Sarah Everard though he was not asked to enter a plea to a charge of murder.

Medical reports into the former Metropolitan Police officer, who appeared by video link from Belmarsh prison, are being prepared. A further hearing before the judge, Adrian Fulford, will take place July 9.

Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, went missing as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham, in south London, on March 3. A major police investigation was launched, and her body was found a week later in a woodland in the southeast county of Kent.

Everard’s disappearance and killing caused a nationwide outcry, with women sharing experiences of being threatened or attacked — or simply facing the everyday fear of violence when walking alone.

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Members of Everard’s family sat in court to witness the defendant enter his pleas.


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