A London Metropolitan Police officer has been charged with the kidnap and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, whose disappearance on a walk home has reignited a national debate in Britain on women’s safety and sexual assault.
Officer Wayne Couzens, 48, is scheduled to appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on Saturday for his first hearing, according to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
Everard disappeared on March 3 while walking in Clapham, south London, prompting an extensive police search in the area.
Her remains were eventually found more than 50 miles from where she was last seen. A post-mortem examination will now take place on Everard’s remains.
Couzens, a police officer whose “primary role was uniformed patrol duties of diplomatic premises,” was arrested in Kent on Tuesday. He was charged on Friday, according to a statement from Rosemary Ainslie, the CPS’ head of special crime.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct, a police watchdog, said in a statement on Thursday that it had started an independent investigation into police actions involving the suspect.
Everard’s disappearance has prompted thousands of women to share their own experiences of intimidation or harassment while walking alone at night across the country — and around the world.