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Wayne Couzens may have committed more crimes, including one just days before he killed Sarah Everard

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Wayne Couzens may have been responsible for more crimes, including an indecent exposure just 72 hours before he kidnapped, raped, and murdered Sarah Everard.

The 48-year-old was linked to the incident at a McDonald’s in Swanley, Kent, but, although his car was reported to officers, he was not named as a suspect and the investigation remains incomplete.

The revelation came from Assistant Met Commissioner Nick Ephgrave, who was speaking after Couzens was given a whole life sentence for the murder of Ms Everard.

Mr Ephgrave said a vehicle associated with Couzens had also been identified in another indecent exposure allegation in Kent in 2015 but that investigation resulted in no further action.

When Couzens joined the police force in 2018, vetting did not flag up the connection.

Mr Ephgrave said the Met had been referred to the Independent Office For Police Conduct over the Swanley incident and a file sent to the Crown Prosecution Service in relation to the alleged crime itself.

More on Sarah Everard

He added: “We ask anyone in the service or any member of the public that might have any information about Couzens’s behaviour – either as an officer or member of the public – that might be relevant, please come forward.”

The police watchdog is also investigating five officers over claims they sent misogynistic, racist and homophobic material with Couzens over WhatsApp months before he killed Ms Everard, according to a report in The Times.

'Each day dawns and I think, Sarah should be here, leading her life and embracing new experiences,' her mother Susan Everard says
Image: Sarah Everard was a 33-year-old marketing executive

On Thursday, the Old Bailey had heard that Couzens used his Metropolitan Police-issued warrant card and handcuffs to abduct Ms Everard as she walked home in London on the night of 3 March, citing lockdown rules to make her think she was being arrested.

The firearms-trained parliamentary and diplomatic protection officer drove to a secluded rural area near Dover where he raped her.

He strangled her with his police-issue belt by 2.30am the following morning.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has resisted calls to resign and said she will “do everything in (her) power to ensure any lessons are learned”.

The Met said it would publish a new strategy for tackling violence against women and girls, and that it would no longer deploy plain clothes officers on their own.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick delivers a statement outside the Old Bailey, where police officer Wayne Couzens was sentenced following the murder of Sarah Everard, in London, Britain, September 30, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Image: Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has said she wants to ensure lessons are learnt

Met Deputy Commissioner Sir Stephen House told the London Assembly’s police and crime committee on Thursday that the actions of Couzens had raised questions on recruitment and vetting, adding: “We know we have to work to rebuild trust and confidence, and we will do all we can to achieve that.”

Detective Chief Inspector Katherine Goodwin, who led the murder investigation, said: “As you would expect, we have a number of inquiries ongoing to establish whether Wayne Couzens is responsible for any other offences.

“Thus far, there is nothing of the nature or seriousness of the offences for which he has been put in prison today.”

She added that she would never forget witnessing the recovery of Ms Everard’s body, after it had been identified by police dogs in a Kent pond.

She said: “Officers took off hats as a mark of respect.

“After the terrible way he had treated her, we wanted to show her the utmost respect and care.”