Politics

Sarah Everard’s family to ‘get the answers they need’ as Priti Patel launches probe over killer cop Wayne Couzens


SARAH Everard’s family will “get the answers they need” vowed Priti Patel today as she launched a probe into her murder by cop Wayne Couzens.

The Home Secretary announced the new inquiry will look at whether any “red flags were missed” earlier in his career and what lessons can be learned.

Sarah Everard, 33, was murdered last March while walking home in London

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Sarah Everard, 33, was murdered last March while walking home in LondonCredit: The Mega Agency
Priti Patel today vowed an inquiry will provide Ms Everard's family with the answers they need

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Priti Patel today vowed an inquiry will provide Ms Everard’s family with the answers they needCredit: PA

Investigators will assess the “systemic failures” that allowed Couzens to carry on serving as a police officer in the run up to the murder.

The probe will be led by Dame Elish Angiolini QC, a former chief legal officer in Scotland, and is set to report by the end of this year.

Mrs Patel said today: “I am determined to understand the failings that enabled a serving officer to commit such heinous crimes.

“We owe an explanation to Sarah’s family and loved ones, and we need to do all in our power to prevent something like this from ever happening again.

“The terms of reference agreed today for the Angiolini Inquiry are vital and will produce learning and recommendations for policing and others.

“I have assured Dame Elish she has my full support to ensure this inquiry gets the answers the public and the Everard family need as soon as possible.”

Dame Elish said it will provide “a full understanding and explanation of the causes of, and factors contributing to, this tragic and harrowing murder”.

The inquiry will build a timeline of Couzens’ career including “prior allegations of criminal behaviour and/or misconduct”.

It will look at how he was vetted and seek to establish whether “any potential risks and/or red flags were missed” in the process.

Officials will also analyse the killer cop’s overall conduct, performance, training and any previous abuse of his police powers.

In doing so they’ll gather testimony from former colleagues on issues about his behaviour, particularly in relation to women.

The inquiry will be non-statutory, which the Home Office says will mean it can produce swifter conclusions.

Killer cop Wayne Couzens is serving a whole life term for Sarah's murder

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Killer cop Wayne Couzens is serving a whole life term for Sarah’s murder

But officials say they’re ready to beef up its legal status if necessary, such as to compel witnesses to give evidence.

It will be in two parts, with the first focussing on Sarah’s murder and then a second on “broader issues” around women’s safety.

Couzens, 48, was given a whole life jail sentence for the abduction, rape, and murder of 33-year-old Sarah whilst a serving officer.

He used his warrant card and handcuffs to kidnap as she walked home in March under the pretext of arresting her for breaching lockdown laws.

During his case it emerged Couzens was nicknamed “the rapist” by ex colleagues because he gave women the creeps.

Shocked sources said the service cop once showed off a prostitute at a hotel party with Met colleagues.

And a woman who was flashed by him slammed officers for ‘not acting quickly enough’ after they were handed CCTV of him

Last October a separate probe was launched into the Metropolitan Police’s vetting of recruits and handling of Couzens’ conduct.

Mrs Patel asked the independent police inspectorate to report back to her by New Year’s Eve so the results can inform the wider inquiry.

Boris Johnson has separately set up a cross-Whitehall Taskforce, chaired by Mrs Patel, to drive new Government action on protecting women.





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