Priti Patel orders inquiry into Wayne Couzens

The police officer, Wayne Couzens, used his warrant card to arrest 33-year-old Everard during the height of lockdown in March when she was walking home after dinner at her friend’s place in South London.

A witness saw her being falsely arrested and handcuffed. Everard was never seen alive again, and the burnt remains of her body were found in woodland in Kent more than a week later.

Her murder rocked Britain, triggered heightened focus on violence against women and has shaken confidence in the police. Couzens was reported for flashing 72 hours before he murdered Everard, but Kent police did not investigate the report far enough to realise that he was a serving police officer.

The Metropolitan Police Force and its Commissioner Cressida Dick have also come under pressure because of the forceful tactics used against women who attended a vigil at Clapham Common, near where Everard went missing and before her body was found.

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The Labour opposition has been calling for an independent inquiry and for Dick to resign.

“Very welcome that Home Office has now announced an independent inquiry following Sarah Everard’s murder,” Yvette Cooper, the senior Labour MP who chairs the Commons Home Affairs Committee, tweeted after the announcement.

Cooper said she understood that the inquiry would “look both at how this dangerous man was able to serve as a police officer, and into wider issues & culture within policing, as we have called for”.

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