Killer cop Wayne Couzens loses bid to have his whole life sentence reduced

29 July 2022, 09:40 | Updated: 29 July 2022, 14:48

By Emma Soteriou

The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by Wayne Couzens against his whole life sentence for the murder of Sarah Everard.

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Court of Appeal judges found he should have no prospect of ever being free again after abducting the 33-year-old in south London in March last year.

The former Met Police officer used his warrant card and handcuffs when he kidnapped Ms Everard as she walked home in Clapham.

He was last year handed a whole-life term for her rape and murder - the first time the sentence had been imposed for a single murder of an adult not committed in the course of a terror attack.

Wayne Couzens lost his appeal
Wayne Couzens lost his appeal. Picture: Met Police
Sarah Everard was murdered by Couzens
Sarah Everard was murdered by Couzens. Picture: Met Police

His lawyers argued the rare whole life order was excessive but Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett said the Court of Appeal disagreed.

He said: "Although the circumstances of his case do not fall within the terms of the statutory provision, which provides that whole life order should be the normal starting point, the individual facts are such that the judge was entitled exceptionally to impose a whole life order."

Read more: Three Met cops shared 'racist and sexist' messages with Wayne Couzens in WhatsApp chat

Read more: Children left at 'unknown risk' by council inspected after Arthur Labinjo-Hughes' murder

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes' dad had his sentence extended
Arthur Labinjo-Hughes' dad had his sentence extended. Picture: West Midlands Police
Arthur Labinjo-Hughes suffered an unsurvivable brain injury
Arthur Labinjo-Hughes suffered an unsurvivable brain injury. Picture: Family handout

Meanwhile, the father of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes - who was left with an unsurvivable brain injury - has had his sentence extended by three years.

Arthur's stepmother Emma Tustin was previously jailed for life with a minimum term of 29 years in December last year for murder, and his father, Thomas Hughes, was sentenced to 21 years for manslaughter.

Arthur was poisoned, starved and beaten by the pair in a prolonged campaign of abuse.

They appealed against the length of their sentences but they were also referred to appeal court judges for being unduly lenient.

Discussing Emma Tustin's sentence for the murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, the senior judges refused to increase her 29-year minimum prison term, finding it was an "appropriate sentence".

Lord Burnett said: "Anyone considering the detailed written materials that we have seen, and CCTV footage, would find it hard to contemplate how anyone, let alone someone with joint responsibility for his care, could have treated Arthur as Tustin did.

"The child cruelty in which she engaged was at the top end of the scale for sentencing purposes, had it been considered in isolation."

He concluded: "In our view the judge was right to take a starting point of 30 years for the principal reason he gave, namely that to do so properly reflected the seriousness of the murder of Arthur and the dreadful cruelty for which Tustin was responsible that preceded it."

Ian Stewart's appeal was successful
Ian Stewart's appeal was successful. Picture: Met Police
Helen Bailey was killed by Ian Stewart
Helen Bailey was killed by Ian Stewart. Picture: PA

Killer Ian Stewart, who murdered his wife and fiancee, was successful in his appeal and got his prison sentence reduced to life with a minimum of 35-years.

He murdered 51-year-old children's author Helen Bailey in 2016 as well as his first wife, 47-year-old Diane Stewart.

Stewart was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 34 years in 2017 for the murder of Ms Bailey, before being handed a whole life sentence in February 2022 after he was convicted of killing Mrs Stewart.

The double murderer's appeal against the whole-life term was reviewed by the five senior judges.