‘We could have saved Sarah’: Predatory cop Wayne Couzens seen on CCTV at drive-thru as flashing victim slams Met

6 March 2023, 15:56 | Updated: 29 February 2024, 07:48

  • Former Metropolitan Police officer, 50, is already serving a whole life jail sentence
  • CCTV released shows Wayne Couzens exposing himself at McDonald's drive-thru

Wayne Couzens sentenced for flashing at women

By Emma Soteriou

Shocking footage released by police has shown the moment killer cop Wayne Couzens drove up to staff at a McDonald's drive-thru and flashed them - just days before murdering Sarah Everard.

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Couzens was sentenced to 19 months for three incidents of flashing before he abducted, raped and murdered Sarah Everard.

He exposed himself twice - on February 14 and 27 2021 - in front of horrified McDonald's workers at the Swanley service station, Kent.

Some of the women involved in the incidents slammed police during their victim statements, with one woman telling the Old Bailey: "If he had been held accountable when we had reported the crime, we could have saved Sarah."

On her view of police, another victim added: "I do not like to tar everyone with the same brush but it has been difficult not to do so after knowing what he did for a living and knowing I could have come across him in uniform and not known what he was capable of."

Police said they were "sorry" that he was not caught before he raped and murdered Ms Everard.

Read more: Police ‘could have saved Sarah Everard,’ says victim - as killer cop Wayne Couzens sentenced for flashing

CCTV showed Couzens placing his order for cheeseburgers at the drive-thru before queuing to collect it.

Moments later a female member of staff saw him with his "trousers pulled down to his knees" at the serving window.

He sat in his car and looked straight at them as he showed his erect penis while handing his card to pay for food.

A senior judge said: "The female staff were shaken, upset and angry."

Addressing police failures, they added: "The fact that no police came to find him or his black car, to question him about these incidents, can only have served to confirm and strengthen, in the defendant's mind, a dangerous belief in his invincibility, in his power sexually to dominate and abuse women without being stopped."

CCTV shows Wayne Couzens McDonald's drive-thru in Swanley days before rape and murder of Sarah Everard

The former Metropolitan Police officer, 50, is already serving a whole life jail sentence for the murder of Ms Everard, 33.

In March 2021, Couzens, then a serving officer, snatched marketing executive Ms Everard as she walked home in south London.

DAC Stuart Cundy, who leads the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards, said: “Today’s sentencing reflects the impact these awful crimes committed by Couzens’ has had on the women he targeted.

“I have read the victim impact statements and it is clear to me the hurt and trauma that he inflicted on them. It is their courage that has been crucial in bringing him to justice and I am sorry for what they have gone through.

“Like so many, I wish he had been arrested for these offences before he went on to kidnap, rape and murder Sarah Everard and I am sorry that he wasn’t.

“The Met’s response to these crimes has been independently investigated. One officer is due to face a misconduct hearing and the events surrounding the death of Sarah Everard will be examined by the Coroner.

“The fact he did this whilst serving as a police officer has brought shame on all us who swore to protect the communities we serve.

“My thoughts today are with all those targeted by Wayne Couzens and Sarah Everard’s family.”

Couzens at the drive-thru
Couzens at the drive-thru. Picture: Metropolitan Police

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The incidents were reported to the Met on February 28 2021, but he was not arrested and three days later he kidnapped, raped and murdered Ms Everard.

Couzens has pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to three counts of indecent exposure.

The incidents took place in woodland and at a fast food restaurant in Kent between November 2020 and February 2021.

On November 13 2020, he stepped out of a woodland in Deal, Kent, naked and masturbated as a woman cycled past.

Mrs Justice May said: "She was scared and shaken, and could do nothing but cycle past, up the hill, as fast as she was able."

She noticed a black car parked 50m further on and recalled a partial number plate.

She warned away some walkers before calling her husband to tell him what had happened at about 1.40pm.

Traffic cameras and cell site data located Couzens in his Seat in that country area at that time.

On the last occasion, at the fast food restaurant, staff took a registration number and identified the car from CCTV as a black Seat which was registered to Couzens.

A credit card in his name was used to pay while ANPR and cell site data was used to track the defendant's car in the area at the time of the incidents.

Couzens had denied three other indecent exposure charges relating to an alleged incident in June 2015, one between January 22 and February 1 2021, and one between January 30 and February 6 2021.

Those charges are expected to be left on court file.

An independent inquiry led by Dame Elish Angiolini will consider Couzens' earlier sexual offending and whether opportunities were missed to stop him before he murdered Ms Everard.

Wayne Couzens has been sentenced to 19 months in prison
Wayne Couzens has been sentenced to 19 months in prison. Picture: Metropolitan Police

After the hearing, the police watchdog published a report showing Couzens making comments about women in a WhatsApp group with other serving police officers.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said the messages contained "racist and homophobic comments, and derogatory remarks, aimed at domestic abuse victims, people with disabilities and women".

Former officers Jonathon Cobban, 35, and Joel Borders, 46, were jailed in November for sharing them.