'She died because he was a police officer': Sarah Everard's family welcome findings of Couzens inquiry

29 February 2024, 10:33 | Updated: 29 February 2024, 10:57

Sarah Everard's family welcome report into killer police officer Wayne Couzens
Sarah Everard's family welcome report into killer police officer Wayne Couzens. Picture: alamy

By StephenRigley

The family of Sarah Everard have welcomed the Agliolini report and said that it will "undoubtedly improve the safety of women and girls."

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In a statement released to coincide with the publication of the report, Sue, Jeremy, Katie and James Everard said ite inquiry has made them feel that "Sarah's life was valued and her memory honoured."

They said: "We believe that Sarah died because he was a police officer – she would never have got into a stranger’s car.

"We strongly support the recommendations that Lady Elish has made and trust that these will be implemented forthwith. We cannot get Sarah back, but positive changes give hope for the future and will be of benefit to others."

The inquiry found that Ms Everard's killer was "abusing women long before he joined the police" and there were repeated failures to stop him.

Wayne Couzens who raped and murdered Sarah Everard
Wayne Couzens who raped and murdered Sarah Everard. Picture: alamy

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Read More: Read in full: Sarah Everard's family statement

The then-serving PC had served in three police forces before he attacked the 33-year-old from South London, moving from Kent Police to the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) before joining the Metropolitan Police.

Lady Elish Angiolini has described the culture in policing as doing ‘nothing to discourage his misogynistic views’ meaning his "deviant behaviour could flourish".

The inquiry has made 16 recommendations including for a specialist national policy to be established for investigating all sexual offences – including non-contact – by September 2024.

Lady Angiolini has also said police forces should build on their recent work to clear ranks of offending officers by reviewing all allegations of sexual offences against serving officers.

The statement said: "As a family, the Inquiry has helped us, not just because of its significant findings, but because its implementation made us feel that Sarah’s life was valued and her memory honoured.

"Her death has not been dismissed as a tragic event to be acknowledged with sympathy and then forgotten – questions have bene raised and actions taken to investigate how this tragedy happened.

"As a family, we have not had to fight for answers and, for this, we are very thankful."

They added: "It is almost three years now since Sarah died. We no longer wait for her call; we no longer expect to see her. We know she won’t be there at family gatherings. But the desperate longing to have her with us remains and the loss of Sarah pervades every part of our lives, The care and support of family, friends and the wider community have helped us to bear this, and we would like to thank them.

"We will be forever grateful to Lady Elish and her team for the hard work, support, and consideration. They have our heartfelt thanks. We would also like to thank the Rt. Hon. Priti Patel MP, who, in her role as Home Secretary, commissioned the inquiry."