UK

Wayne Couzens admits indecent exposure weeks before he murdered Sarah Everard

Wayne Couzens has pleaded guilty to committing indecent exposure in the months leading up to the murder of Sarah Everard.

The former Metropolitan Police constable, who was serving as an armed officer at the time, admitted exposing his genitals in three incidents in November 2020 and February 2021.

The first targeted a female cyclist in a woodland near Deal, Kent, while the second two offences took place at a McDonald’s drive-thru in Swanley.

Weeks later, Couzens abducted, raped and murdered Ms Everard as she walked home in London.

The 50-year-old entered the pleas at the Old Bailey by video link from HMP Frankland jail, where he is serving a whole-life sentence

The Crown Prosecution Service said it would not proceed with other counts of alleged flashing by Couzens because it was not “in the public interest”, meaning he will not go to trial.

He will be sentenced on 6 March, when the court will hear details of his offences and impact statements from victims.

A ruling made by Ms Justice May in November, following a failed “abuse of process” application by Couzens’ defence team, said that in the November 2020 incident he stepped out of woodland near Deal in Kent and exposed himself to a female cyclist.

Couzens was naked at the time and masturbating, leaving the woman “scared and shaken” as she cycled away “as fast as she was able”, the ruling said.

Two months later, Couzens targeted a McDonald’s in Swanley, exposing himself there on 14 February and 27 February 2021.

Ms Justice May said female staff working at the drive-thru window “reported a man in [a black Seat] with exposed genitals” who appeared sexually aroused.

“They reported that the man looked straight at them whilst sitting in the car, exposing himself to them in this way,” the ruling said. “The female staff were shaken, upset and angry.”

Couzens drove to the restaurant using his own car, which was registered in his name, and used his own credit card to purchase food.

The same vehicle had been seen by the female cyclist after she passed Couzens during the 2020 incident, and she recorded a partial number plate.

Detective Chief Inspector Katherine Goodwin, who leads the Specialist Crime Command team that originally investigated the murder of Ms Everard, said Couzens tried to “frighten and demean” women with his behaviour and praised their “strength and dignity” in reporting him.

The Metropolitan Police said it received a report of the February 2021 indecent exposure incidents but had not identified Couzens’ occupation by the time he murdered Ms Everard.

The 2020 exposure was reported to Kent Police, and the victim then contacted Scotland Yard after Ms Everard’s death.

Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner Bas Javid said: “We know the public will, understandably, be sickened at yet more grotesque crimes by Couzens.

“The process of flushing out the corrupt and the criminal from the Met will be slow and painful, but is necessary and we will continue to do so. This is how we will reform, move forward and become an institution Londoners can have confidence in.”

Xural.com

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