PM: police must 'work fast to find all the answers' in Sarah Everard case

10 March 2021, 20:16 | Updated: 11 March 2021, 17:11

A body has been found in the search for Sarah Everard, detectives have confirmed
A body has been found in the search for Sarah Everard, detectives have confirmed. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

The Prime Minister has urged police to "work fast to find all the answers" in the case of missing Sarah Everard.

Police are continuing to question a serving officer on suspicion of her murder, after human remains were found in Kent.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick confirmed last night that human remains had been found in the search for the missing marketing executive.

Ms Everard, 33, from London, went missing after leaving a friend's house in Clapham at about 9pm on March 3.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said today: "I am shocked and deeply saddened by the developments in the Sarah Everard investigation. Like the whole country my thoughts are with her family and friends. We must work fast to find all the answers to this horrifying crime."

Locals and police have been frantically searching for her ever since, but a tragic discovery was made last night in an area of woodland in Kent.

It comes after a Metropolitan Police Officer was arrested on suspicion of her murder.

Speaking on Wednesday evening, Dame Cressida said: "Detectives and search teams investigating Sarah's disappearance have found very sadly what appears to be human remains.

"The discovery was made in an area of woodland in Ashford in Kent. As you can imagine at this early stage we are not able to confirm any identify and indeed that may take us some considerable time."

READ MORE: Sarah Everard - a timeline of her disappearance

She added specialist officers have been with Sarah's family to support them through the tragic news.

The police officer, in his 40s, was first arrested on the evening of Tuesday, 9 March on suspicion of kidnap, and was further arrested on suspicion of murder and a separate allegation of indecent exposure earlier today.

A woman, aged in her 30s, was also arrested on the evening of 9 March on suspicion of assisting an offender and remains in custody.

Officers are seen searching in Ashford in Kent
Officers are seen searching in Ashford in Kent. Picture: PA

Speaking of the news, Dame Cressida added: "The news today that it was a Metropolitan Police officer arrested on suspicion of Sarah’s murder has sent waves of shock and anger through the public and through the whole of the Met.

"I speak on behalf of all my colleagues in the Met when I say we are utterly appalled at this dreadful news. Our job is to patrol the streets and to protect people.

"The investigation is large, fast moving and very determined. We have hundreds of officers and staff who have been working around the clock.

"Sarah’s disappearance in these awful and wicked circumstances is every family’s worst nightmare.

"I know Londoners will want to know that it is thankfully incredibly rare for a woman to be abducted from our streets.

Sarah went missing on Wednesday. Her family and friends are being supported at this time
Sarah went missing on Wednesday. Her family and friends are being supported at this time. Picture: PA

"But I completely understand that despite this, women in London and the wider public - particularly those in the area where Sarah went missing - will be worried and may well be feeling scared.

"You should expect to see continued high levels of police patrols in that area as well as very significant investigative activity.

"Please report any concerns you may have to us.

"We have been so impressed, and thankful for the public support for the investigation and for sharing our appeals for information and of course we are deeply grateful to the many people who have come forward to assist us.

"Again my thoughts are with Sarah, her family and her loved ones."

The officer was not on duty at the time she vanished.

Speaking to journalists outside Scotland Yard on Wednesday morning, Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said: "The fact that the man who has been arrested is a serving Metropolitan Police officer is both shocking and deeply disturbing."

He told reporters that detectives are working "at all speed" to find out what has happened to Ms Everard, and repeated appeals for members of the public to come forward with information.

Turning to the 33-year-old's family, who along with her friends have issued desperate appeals for help via social media, he said: "As a father myself, of four young women, I can only imagine the anguish that Sarah's family are feeling at this very very difficult time."

Ms Everard is thought to have walked through Clapham Common towards her house in Brixton - a journey which should have taken around 50 minutes.

She was last captured on a doorbell camera walking along the A205 Poynders Road towards Tulse Hill at around 9.30pm on March 3.

The case has been referred to watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct because it involves a police officer.

A spokesman said it had been decided that the Metropolitan Police would investigate any potential conduct issues linked to the kidnap and murder allegations itself.

The IOPC is currently assessing whether any further action should be taken in relation to the actions of police after Ms Everard was reported missing.

Labour former minister and Mother of the House Harriet Harman has criticised Dame Cressida Dick's comments regarding the disappearance of Sarah Everard.

In a Commons debate marking International Women's Day, Ms Harman said: "This International Women's Day debate comes in the shadow of the menace of male violence against women."

She continued: "Women will find no reassurance at all in the Metropolitan Commissioner's statement that, and I quote, 'it is extremely rare for a woman to be abducted off the street'.

"Women know abduction and murder is just the worst end of a spectrum of everyday male threat to women. When the police advise women don't go out at night on their own, women ask why do they have to be subjected to an informal curfew?

"It is not women who are the problem here, it is men, and the criminal justice system fails women and lets men off the hook. Whether it is rape or whether it is domestic homicide, women are judged and blamed."

Ms Harman added: "So, let's hear no more false reassurances, let's have action.”

MPs also listened in silence as Labour MP Jess Phillips read out the names of almost 120 women killed in the UK where a man has been convicted or charged as the primary perpetrator.

MPs normally have 3 minutes to speak in these debates, but Phillips was given an exemption to this in order to read all the names. The list went on for more than 4 and a half minutes.

SNP MP Kirsty Blackman said: "We should not be waiting until somebody is murdered before taking their voices seriously."