Body found in Kent woodland is Sarah Everard, police confirm

12 March 2021, 13:54 | Updated: 13 March 2021, 11:20

By Maddie Goodfellow

Human remains that were found in Kent woodland are those of Sarah Everard, police have confirmed.

33-year-old Sarah Everard went missing in south London on Wednesday 3 March while walking home from a friend's house.

Speaking to reporters outside Scotland Yard, Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said the body found in woodland was that of Sarah Everard.

He said: "As you know, on Wednesday evening detectives investigating the disappearance of Sarah Everard discovered a body secreted in woodland in Kent.

"The body has now been recovered and formal identification procedure has now been undertaken.

"I can now confirm that it is the body of Sarah Everard."

Assistant Commissioner Ephgrave also said that Sarah Everard's family had been told this "most distressing news".

Sarah Everard went missing from South London last week
Sarah Everard went missing from South London last week. Picture: PA

A serving Metropolitan Police officer, who is aged in his 40s, remains in custody on suspicion of kidnapping and murdering the marketing executive and detectives have been granted more time to question him.

He was was further arrested on suspicion of murder and a separate allegation of indecent exposure on Wednesday.

Human remains were found in an area of woodland in Ashford, Kent, on Wednesday, and the search for evidence has now focused on military tunnels near the family garage of the suspect.

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It comes as Scotland Yard is facing an investigation by the police watchdog into its handling of a separate allegation of indecent exposure against the arrested officer, who is in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command.

On Friday, it was announced that the officer was accused of indecently exposing himself twice at a south London fast food restaurant three days before her disappearance.

Both allegations are the subject of an Independent Office for Police Conduct investigation.

The Met said: "On 28 February the Met created a crime report in relation to two separate indecent exposure incidents at a fast food restaurant in south London.

"It would be inappropriate to comment further given the IOPC investigation."

Assistant Commissioner Ephgrave also said his "thoughts and prayers, and those of the entire organisation" remain with Sarah Everard's family "at this awful time".

He added: "Specialist officers remain in constant contact with Sarah's family, and will continue to support them throughout the investigation and beyond.

"That investigation continues at a pace and we have hundreds of officers working round the clock to establish the full circumstances of Sarah's disappearance, and her murder."

He said: "I know that the public feel hurt and angry about what has happened, and those are sentiments that I share personally, and I know my colleagues here at Scotland Yard and across the Met share as well.

"I also recognise the wider concerns that have been raised, quite rightly, about the safety of women in public spaces in London and also elsewhere in the country.

"I want to say now that this organisation, and the men and women in it, remain committed to protecting Londoners wherever they are in this city.

"And that commitment is undiminished by these events and if anything that commitment is strengthened by these tragic circumstances."

Ms Everard was last seen leaving a friend's house on Leathwaite Road in Clapham, southwest London, at about 9pm on 3 March to walk the 50 minute journey back to her home in Brixton.

The officer currently held on suspicion of her murder was later was arrested at an address in Deal, Kent, more than 60 miles away from where Ms Everard was last seen.

Read more: Timeline of 33-year-old’s disappearance

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A woman in her 30s, who was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of assisting an offender, has been released on bail to return to a police station on a date in mid-April.

Extensive searches have been carried out at the house, around Clapham and Brixton and the woodland in Ashford.

On Thursday, it was confirmed that a police officer who was arrested on suspicion of her murder was treated in hospital for a head injury.

On Friday, Boris Johnson said he can "totally understand" why the death of Sarah Everard has triggered a "wave of feeling" on the issue of women's safety.

The Prime Minister told reporters at Queen's University Belfast: "Like everybody, I'm shocked and appalled about the news from the Met about Sarah Everard.

"I think that the whole country will be united in their feeling for her friends, her family and will share their shock and their grief.

"I can see, and I totally understand, why this has triggered such a wave of feeling on this issue - on the issue of safety of women and safety of the streets.

"And I want to echo very much what Priti Patel said, which is that no woman should walk our streets in fear - every woman should feel able to walk our streets in safety.

"As for the proposed vigil, as you know there is a case I think before the courts right now."