Police probe into whether Wayne Couzens was behind more crimes as killer is jailed

30 September 2021, 20:22

Couzens has been jailed for life
Couzens has been jailed for life. Picture: Met Police

By Will Taylor

Wayne Couzens is being investigated to see if he is responsible for more crimes.

The Met Police officer was jailed for life on Thursday for the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard earlier this year.

Now, it has emerged his vehicles were linked to two earlier indecent exposure allegations.

One of the allegations was just 72 hours before Couzens abducted and killed Ms Everard.

"We ask anyone in the service or any member of the public that might have any information about Couzens' behaviour - either as an officer or member of the public - that might be relevant, please come forward,” the Met’s Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said.

Read more: Killer cop to die behind bars: Sarah Everard's parents say the world is a 'safer place'

Read more: Sarah Everard's family: 'The pain of losing her is overwhelming'

And the senior officer has admitted he is "wrestling" with himself over whether Couzens was a "bad apple" or an extreme example of a wider problem in police.

The officer used Covid laws to detain Ms Everard, and then rape and kill her before disposing of her burned body in a pond in Kent.

He was jailed for life on Thursday.

Cressida Dick admits trust "shaken" in Met after Sarah Everard murder

Couzens was not named as a suspect in the alleged exposure incident in South London, though a DVLA check on a car linked to it would have flagged him as the registered owner.

AC Ephgrave said the investigation into the allegation was "ongoing" when Ms Everard was killed.

The Met has been referred to the police watchdog and a file was sent to the Crown Prosecution Service in relation to the allegation, he said.

Read more: Cressida Dick: I can't describe my fury at Wayne Couzens - I am so sorry

The officer also admitted a check carried out when Couzens joined the Met in 2018 was not done "correctly" while a vehicle associated with him was identified in a Kent Police investigation into an indecent exposure incident in 2015.

However, AC Ephgrave admitted that even had that come up during vetting, it would not have changed the outcome of it.

Asked if there was enough information from the two allegations to suggest Couzens was a threat to women, he said Kent Police did not take further action and Couzens was not named as a suspect.

Patel: The Met have questions to answer over Everard case

He confirmed the killer watched "extreme" pornography in the past, which only emerged after officers investigated Ms Everard's death.

The Met has been criticised for the fact Couzens was kept in the force despite picking up the nickname "The Rapist", and calls for the commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, to resign have intensified.

Asked if Couzens was a "bad apple" or an extreme example of issues in the police, AC Ephgrave said: "I'm wrestling with that myself."

He added: "It's undoubtedly one of the darkest days the Metropolitan Police Service has had in its nearly 200 years of existence and we all feel that keenly.

"I of course acknowledge the impact this has on the trust and confidence of Londoners and the confidence they have in the Metropolitan Police and its staff."

Detective Chief Inspector Katherine Goodwin, who led the murder investigation, said she did not know about any allegations against Couzens of such a serious nature.

But she said: "As you would expect, we have a number of inquiries ongoing to establish whether Wayne Couzens is responsible for any other offences.

"Thus far, there is nothing of the nature or seriousness of the offences for which he has been put in prison today.

"I would like to reiterate Mr Ephgrave's appeal - if anyone has any information or any allegations about Wayne Couzens that they would come and speak to our team."