Police officer and married father of two arrested on suspicion of murder, kidnap
Police officer and married father of two arrested on suspicion of murder, kidnap

Married cop arrested on suspicion of murder

A married serving police officer has been arrested on suspicion of the kidnap and murder of a marketing executive who had been walking through a London park.

Wayne Couzens, 48, was being questioned by detectives following a high profile investigation into the disappearance of Sarah Everard.

The father of two was also accused of indecent exposure.

He worked as a diplomatic protection officer at Westminster and was involved in securing events attended by the Royal Family.

 

Social media post for missing Sarah Everard. Picture: Facebook
Social media post for missing Sarah Everard. Picture: Facebook

 

 

Ms Everard, 33, had been walking home from a friend's house at 9pm on Wednesday last week.

She was seen near Clapham Common, a large park in south west London, shortly before she vanished.

The marketing executive had been speaking on the phone to her boyfriend, Josh Lowth, 33, for 15 minutes.

But concerns were raised when she did not arrive at her Brixton home, which should have been a 50-minute walk.

Police divers have searched ponds in Clapham Common and officers also searched secluded woods near Couzens' home in Kent, south east England.

And 150 police have been searching an abandoned minigolf and paintballing centre in Ashford, Kent, about 100km south east of London.

 

A woman, believed to be Couzens' partner, was also arrested on suspicion of helping him conceal a crime.

Police impounded Couzens' black Audi and had set up a forensic evidence tent at his home.

His locker at the Palace of Westminster, the British parliament that includes Big Ben, was also searched.

The murder has shocked Britain, with a former workmate of Couzens' telling The Sun: "It is truly shocking that he has been arrested over Sarah's disappearance."

 

Wayne Couzens, a police officer in London's diplomatic protection force, was arrested on suspicion of murder. Picture: Social media
Wayne Couzens, a police officer in London's diplomatic protection force, was arrested on suspicion of murder. Picture: Social media

 

Couzens was a late entry into the police service, only starting his career about 10 years ago.

Questions are now being asked about the screening process used during his recruitment.

There have been a series of reports of assaults on women in Clapham Common in recent months but police have said there was no evidence to link them to Couzens.

Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said the arrest was a "serious and significant development".

"As a father myself, of four young women, I can only imagine the anguish that Sarah's family are feeling at this very difficult time," he said.

A neighbour in the road where Couzens was arrested said a police officer lives at the address with his "chatty" wife and two children.

"They just seemed like a normal, regular family, there was nothing strange about them at all," she said.

 

Matt Mullan, 29, who also lives nearby, said: "Last night there were police cars outside all night.

"I thought this is a bit strange, not normal for round here.

"It was about 8-9pm there was heavy traffic out there and there have been police cars outside all morning.

"It's very surprising, definitely not what you expect to see."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman had said his thoughts were with Ms Everard and her friends and family.

stephen.drill@news.co.uk

Originally published as Married cop arrested on suspicion of murder



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