Sarah Everard murder: Police investage whether Wayne Couzens who raped and murdered Sarah Everard could be responsible for more crimes
Police are investigating whether Wayne Couzens could be responsible for more crimes, after it emerged his vehicles were linked to two earlier indecent exposure allegations.
One of the allegations was just 72 hours before Couzens kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard.
While he was not named as a suspect in the south London incident, a DVLA check on a car linked to it would have revealed him as the registered owner.
Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said the investigation into the indecent exposure had been “ongoing” at the time Couzens killed Ms Everard.
He said the Met had been referred to the police watchdog and a file sent to the Crown Prosecution Service in relation to the alleged crime itself.
The senior officer also admitted a check when Couzens transferred to the Metropolitan Police in 2018 was not done “correctly”.
It did not flag up that a vehicle associated with Couzens had been identified in a Kent Police investigation into an indecent exposure in 2015.
But he said that even if it had come up in the vetting process, it would not have changed the outcome.
The senior Met officer was quizzed on whether the two incidents provided enough information to identify Couzens as a threat to women before he killed Ms Everard.
He stressed the Kent Police investigation resulted in no further action and Couzens was never named as a suspect.
The officer went on to confirm that a claim that Couzens had watched “extreme” pornography in the past only emerged after the investigation into Ms Everard’s death.
He said: “We ask anyone in the service or any member of the public that might have any information about Couzens’ behaviour – either as an officer or member of the public – that might be relevant, please come forward.”
Asked whether Couzens was a “bad apple” in the police or an extreme example of a wider problem, Mr Ephgrave said: “I’m wrestling with that myself.”
On the impact of Couzens’ crimes, he said: “It’s undoubtedly one of the darkest days the Metropolitan Police Service has had in its nearly 200 years of existence and we all feel that keenly.
“I of course acknowledge the impact this has on the trust and confidence of Londoners and the confidence they have in the Metropolitan Police and its staff.”
Detective Chief Inspector Katherine Goodwin, who led the murder investigation, said she was unaware of any allegations against Couzens of such a serious nature.
But she said: “As you would expect, we have a number of inquiries ongoing to establish whether Wayne Couzens is responsible for any other offences.
“Thus far, there is nothing of the nature or seriousness of the offences for which he has been put in prison today.
“I would like to reiterate Mr Ephgrave’s appeal – if anyone has any information or any allegations about Wayne Couzens that they would come and speak to our team.”
She added that she would never forget witnessing the recovery of Ms Everard’s body, after it had been identified by police dogs in a Kent pond days after her disappearance.
She said: “Officers took off hats as a mark of respect.
“After the terrible way he had treated her, we wanted to show her the utmost respect and care.”