LONDON – A public inquiry will look into how an on-duty British police officer abducted and murdered a woman, the Home Office said Monday, and whether he could have been prevented from committing a crime that appalled the nation.
Wayne Couzens, 48, an officer charged with guarding diplomatic premises in the UK capital, kidnapped marketing director Sarah Everard, 33, on a London street as she was walking home in March last year, and then raped and murdered her.
“I am determined to understand the mistakes that enabled an officiating officer to commit such heinous crimes – we owe a statement to Sarah’s family and loved ones, and we must do everything in our power to prevent that from happening something ever happens again. ”This is what Home Secretary Priti Patel said.
Everard’s murder sparked public rallies and outbursts of anger from women who shared their own experiences and fears of being alone at night.
It also raises questions about whether previous concerns about Couzens have been properly reviewed by the police, including one indecent incident he was linked to in 2015 and two other such allegations last year.
In the two-part study, the first step is to investigate whether “red flags” have been overlooked, whether his abuse of police powers and whether questions about his behavior, especially towards women, have been known and raised by colleagues.
These results will be used for a second part of the investigation to examine what further measures for the protection of women and for police work in general should be considered.
Elish Angiolini, who will lead the investigation, said Monday’s announcement was a significant step forward in ensuring that Sarah’s family and the general public fully understand and explain the causes and factors that contribute to this tragic and harrowing murder.