Sarah Everard: London police officer sentenced to a whole-life prison term

London police officer Wayne Couzens has been sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of murdering Sarah Everard after kidnapping her under the guise of an arrest.

Wayne Couzens abducted the 33-year-old as she walked home from a friend’s house in south London on 3 March.

Ahead of sentencing Couzens, 48, the judge said the case was “devastating, tragic and wholly brutal”.

Ms Everard’s family said they were relieved by the fact Couzens would die in jail.

Lord Justice Fulford described the circumstances of the kidnap, rape and murder as “grotesque”, telling Couzens he had “betrayed” his family.

He told Couzens: “Notwithstanding your guilty pleas, therefore, I have seen no evidence of genuine contrition on your part, as opposed to evident self-pity and attempts by you to avoid or minimise the proper consequences of what you have done.”

The judge said the seriousness of the case was so “exceptionally high” that it warranted a whole-life order.

“The misuse of a police officer’s role such as occurred in this case in order to kidnap, rape and murder a lone victim is of equal seriousness as a murder for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause,” he said.

He described Ms Everard as “an intelligent, resourceful, talented and much-loved young woman, still in the early years of her life”.

Reacting to the sentencing, Ms Everard’s family said they were pleased with the full-life term, adding that although “nothing can make things better, nothing can bring Sarah back… knowing he will be imprisoned forever brings some relief.

“Sarah lost her life needlessly and cruelly and all the years of life she had yet to enjoy were stolen from her. Wayne Couzens held a position of trust as a police officer and we are outraged and sickened that he abused this trust in order to lure Sarah to her death. The world is a safer place with him imprisoned.

“It is almost seven months since Sarah died and the pain of losing her is overwhelming. We miss her all the time. We hold her safe in our hearts.”