Sarah Everard inquiry to probe if killer cop Wayne Couzens could have been stopped

By Ben Glaze & Michelle Cullen

A probe into whether or not policeman killer Wayne Couzens could have been stopped before he murdered Sarah Everard will examine policing issues that need to be addressed in the UK.

Mr Couzens was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to the kidnap, rape and murder of the 33-year-old marketing executive.

The case sparked international outrage after it emerged that Mr Couzens had previous criminal allegations and misconduct allegations, which some say should have been uncovered during the vetting process.

Couzens was an armed officer in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, guarding embassies, and previously worked for Kent Police and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, where he was nicknamed "the rapist" because of his behaviour towards women.

He faced multiple allegations of indecent exposure before he raped and murdered Miss Everard in Claham, South London, last March.

The investigation will be led by Scotland's former top prosecutor Dame Elish Angiolini QC.

Wayne Couzens (PA)

The Home Office said the first part of her inquiry would study "an overall timeline of Wayne Couzens' career and relevant incidents".

This will include "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."

It is intended to conclude this year to make sure the "family get the answers they need", the Home Office said.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "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: "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."

The inquiry will analyse documents from the Metropolitan Police, Civil Nuclear Constabulary and Kent Police as well as interviews, witness statements and findings from Independent Office for Police Conduct.

The findings from the first part of the inquiry will inform the second - which will examine "broader issues" for policing and the protection of women.


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