A new probe led by former prosecutor Dame Elish Angiolini will examine whether Sarah Everard’s killer, Wayne Couzens, could have been stopped before he committed the murder.
Wayne Couzens was jailed last year after admitting to the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard.
As this case came to light, outrage spread as multiple allegations of previous criminal accusations and misconducts involving Couzens surfaced. Allegations that should have been uncovered through standard police vetting.
It was at the Civil Nuclear Constabulary where he was coined “the rapist” because of his attitude and behaviour towards women.
Before the murder of Sarah Everard, Couzens faced various allegations of rape and indecent exposure, which were under investigation from The Independent Office of Police Conduct. One of which took place just 72 hours before he kidnapped Sarah Everard on the 3rd of March 2021.
MP Priti Patel said in an interview with The Mirror, that as part of her inquiry, she would study “an overall timeline of Wayne Couzens career and relevant incidents”.
“prior allegations of criminal behaviour and/or misconduct; the circumstances and decision-making relating to his vetting and re-vetting, including whether any potential risks and/or red flags were missed; any other relevant matters arising from his transfers between forces.”
The first phase of this investigation which examined Couzens’ actions during his career and any abuse of his power, is estimated to come to conclude at the end of this year in the hope that Sarah Everard’s family will receive the answers they deserve.
In the same interview, Priti Patel also said –
“I am determined to understand the failings that enabled a serving officer to commit such heinous crimes – we owe an explanation to Everard’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.”
Priti Patel has expressed her desire to push forward with the inquiry on a non-statutory basis, meaning that it can proceed efficiently and with greater flexibility.
Dame Elish has stated –
“The publication of the terms of reference is a significant step forward to progressing this vital inquiry and ensuring Sarah’s family and the wider public get a full understanding and explanation of the causes of, and factors contributing to, this tragic and harrowing murder.”
As the investigation continues, it will examine documents gathered from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, Kent Police and the Metropolitan Police. As well as multiple interviews, witness statements and the findings from the independent Office for Police Conduct.
The first half of the inquiry will provide answers for the second which will delve deeper into broader policing issues and the protection of women.