Sarah Everard case: Scotland Yard faces probe over indecent exposure report

11 March 2021, 17:01 | Updated: 12 March 2021, 08:28

A police officer being held on suspicion of Sarah Everard's murder has been injured in custody
A police officer being held on suspicion of Sarah Everard's murder has been injured in custody. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

The police watchdog has launched an investigation over whether Metropolitan Police officers "responded appropriately" to an indecent exposure claim against the officer suspected of murdering Sarah Everard.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) tonight said the officer allegedly exposed himself in South London takeaway on February 28, four days before Sarah vanished. The watchdog's investigation will focus on the actions of two officers.

In a statement, the IOPC said: "The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has started an independent investigation into whether Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officers responded appropriately to a report of indecent exposure.

"The IOPC’s investigation follows a conduct referral from the MPS in relation to two officers, received last night, which is linked to four other referrals.

READ MORE: Sarah Everard - a timeline of her disappearance

READ MORE: Sarah Everard - Women share how they've been forced to change their behaviour

"They are all connected to the arrest of a serving MPS officer on suspicion of kidnap, murder and a separate allegation of indecent exposure.

"Our investigation will look at the actions of the MPS after police received a report on 28 February that a man had exposed himself at a fast food restaurant in South London."

READ MORE: Sarah Everard's family issue tribute to a 'shining example'

The suspect was earlier taken to hospital for treatment to a head injury sustained while in custody.

"He has since been discharged and returned to custody," a spokesperson said.

"We are not prepared to discuss further.

The IOPC said a fifth mandatory referral was received from the Met "in relation to police contact with the arrested officer".

The police officer, in his 40s and based in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection unit, has been in custody since March 9 when he was arrested on suspicion of Sarah's kidnap.

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

A woman, aged in her 30s, was also arrested on the evening of 9 March on suspicion of assisting an offender and has been released on bail to return to a police station on a date in mid-April.

Sarah, 33, from London, went missing after leaving a friend's house in Clapham at about 9pm on March 3, sparking a frantic search.

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

But a tragic discovery was made last night in an area of woodland in Kent, where detectives confirmed "human remains" were found.

The serving officer, who was not on duty when Sarah went missing on March 3, is continuing to be questioned.

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

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."

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

Speaking on Wednesday evening, she 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."

Speaking about the news a police officer was being held on suspicion of her murder, she 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.

"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."