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Sarah Everard: Three Met cops charged over racist and misogynistic messages with killer
17 February 2022, 12:44 | Updated: 17 February 2022, 13:37
Two serving Metropolitan Police officers and one former officer have been charged with sharing grossly offensive messages on WhatsApp with Sarah Everard's killer Wayne Couzens.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) sent prosecutors a file on allegations the three shared racist and misogynistic messages with Couzens between April and August 2019.
The three are due to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on March 16. The CPS said it cannot confirm the names of the officers for operational reasons.
In a statement, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said: "Two serving Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officers and one former MPS officer are to appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on March 16 charged in connection with an Independent Office for Police Conduct investigation into the sending and sharing of inappropriate messages on WhatsApp.
"They are charged with sending grossly offensive messages on a public communications network contrary to section 127 of the Communications Act 2003.
"The offences are alleged to have occurred between April and August 2019.
"The IOPC's investigation began following a referral from the MPS in April last year (2021) and was completed in December when we referred a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The CPS has now taken the decision to authorise charges against the officers."
Rosemary Ainslie, Head of the CPS Special Crime Division, said: “Following a referral of evidence by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, the CPS has authorised charges against two serving Metropolitan Police officers and one former officer.
“All three will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 16 March for their first hearing.
“Each of the three defendants has been charged with sending grossly offensive messages on a public communications network. The alleged offences took place on a WhatsApp group chat.
“The function of the CPS is not to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges to a court to consider.
“Criminal proceedings are active and nothing should be published that could jeopardise the defendants right to a fair trial.”
Wayne Couzens was given a whole-life sentence back in September.
The serving officer handcuffed the 33-year-old in a "false arrest" before abducting Sarah in Clapham on the evening of March 3 last year.
Two witnesses saw him detain Sarah on the street and assumed he was acting legitimately, the Old Bailey heard in a two-day sentencing.
Ms Everard was abducted at the height of the Covid-19 lockdown and was more likely to submit to the accusation she broke Covid-19 rules, prosecutors said.
The firearms officer had clocked off from a 12-hour shift at the American embassy that morning and drove to a secluded rural area near Dover in Kent, where he parked up and raped Ms Everard.
The Brixton marketing executive had been strangled with Couzens' police belt by 2.30am the following morning.