Starmer tells LBC Met Police must answer how Everard's killer 'slipped through the net'

30 September 2021, 07:19 | Updated: 30 September 2021, 12:22

By Sophie Barnett

Sir Keir Starmer said questions must be answered about how Met Police officer Wayne Couzens managed to "slip through the net", as the former cop faces life behind bars for the murder of Sarah Everard.

The Labour leader made the comments when he was grilled by Nick Ferrari on LBC on Thursday, the morning after his first conference speech in charge of the party.

He said it is essential to establish how police officer Wayne Couzens, who was a serving member of the Met Police at the time of Sarah's murder, managed to "slip through the net".

He told Nick that Scotland Yard must answer crucial questions.

Watch: Moment Wayne Couzens falsely told police a gang made him kidnap Sarah Everard

Read more: Sarah Everard's mother tells killer he is 'the worst of humanity' ahead of sentencing

Mr Starmer said: "As Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) you see a lot of cases you don't want to see. This one, just so sickening, the whole country stopped.

"Every thought goes out to that family in these awful, awful situations.

"It's one of those cases I think that absolutely touches the heart of all of us, even hardened people like me, who I say have prosecuted such cases for five years and seen some pretty awful cases. This was just awful."

Mr Starmer said that while his party had a "very good week" at conference, there was always a piece of him thinking of Sarah's family and what they have been going through.

Nick asked the Labour leader whether there needs to be a review of the Met and other police forces, due to the opportunities for Couzens to be caught in both Kent and London over reports of indecent exposure.

Mr Starmer replied: "Nick, that is the key issue, which is how did he slip through the net?

"There were obviously warning signs, so how did he get through the net?"

Read more: Met officer used Covid laws to handcuff and 'arrest' Sarah Everard before murdering her

Read more: Sarah Everard murder: A timeline of key events

He spoke of the thousands of police officers across the country who he said are "absolutely sickened" by Couzens.

"How on earth did he get through the net, that is the critical question that has just got to be answered."

Couzens is set to face life behind bars when he is sentenced later today for the kidnap, rape and murder of the 33-year-old earlier this year.

The Old Bailey's heard how he used a fake arrest to get Sarah into his car.

He used his Metropolitan Police-issue warrant card when he snatched her as she walked home in Clapham, south London, on the evening of March 3.

Reading a statement on day one of Couzens' two-day sentencing, her mother Susan said: "Sarah died in horrendous circumstances. I am tormented at the thought of what she endured.

"Sarah was handcuffed, unable to defend herself, and there was no one to rescue her. She spent the last hours on this earth with the very worst of humanity.

"She lost her life because Wayne Couzens wanted to satisfy his perverted desires. It is a ridiculous reason. It is nonsensical. How could he value a human life so cheaply?

"I am incandescent with rage at the thought of it. He treated my daughter as if she was nothing and disposed of her as if she was rubbish."