Wayne Couzens sentenced to 19 months in prison over three 'flashing' incidents in months before Sarah Everard murder
The ex-Metropolitan Police officer was supposed to be on duty and working from home when he exposed himself to a female cyclist in a country lane in Kent in November 2020. He went on to expose himself to two female attendants at a drive-through fast food restaurant in Kent, with the last incident just days before he snatched 33-year-old Ms Everard in south London on March 3, 2021.
Couzens, formerly from Deal in Kent, pleaded guilty to three charges of indecent exposure with three further counts to lie on court file. As the 50-year-old was sentenced to 19 months in prison by an Old Bailey judge on Monday, the women described the impact of the incidents on them.
The cyclist said her “freedom” to enjoy country walks and cycling had been taken away by his “selfish, aggressive act”.
She said: “I remember vividly being concerned that somebody who could expose themselves to a stranger in such an intimidating way could go on to commit much more serious acts. This is what happened.”
She told Couzens: “Four months after you exposed yourself to me, you raped and murdered an innocent woman. There were opportunities to identify you and they were not taken. I did not feel that, when I reported your crime, it was taken as seriously as I felt that it should have been. The horror of what happened will remain with me for the rest of my life.”
One of the women who was flashed at by Couzens at a drive-through restaurant was left “scared” at learning what he went on to do. She said: “I felt like that could have been me. I still think about this now.
“If he had been held accountable when we had reported the crime, we could have saved Sarah.” Another victim wept in court as she described feelings of “survivor’s guilt”.
She said: “I could not help, but feel relieved that it wasn’t me, or that it could have been me.”
On her view of police, she said: “I do not like to tar everyone with the same brush, but it has been difficult not to do so after knowing what he did for a living and knowing I could have come across him in uniform and not known what he was capable of.”
Couzens, who appeared at the Old Bailey via video-link from Frankland Prison, gave no reaction as the statements were read in court. He is already serving a whole life jail sentence for the kidnap, rape and murder of Ms Everard in early March 2021.
Following the sentencing, deputy assistant commissioner Stuart Cundy, who leads the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards, apologised for Wayne Couzens not being arrested for flashing before he killed Sarah Everard.
He said: “Today’s sentencing reflects the impact these awful crimes committed by Couzens has had on the women he targeted. I have read the victim impact statements and it is clear to me the hurt and trauma that he inflicted on them. It is their courage that has been crucial in bringing him to justice and I am sorry for what they have gone through.
“Like so many, I wish he had been arrested for these offences before he went on to kidnap, rape and murder Sarah Everard and I am sorry that he wasn’t.”
In a televised hearing, Mrs Justice May said sentencing also served as “public recognition” of the offences and the impact on the victims. She said the personal statements of the three women spoke “justly of their shock and upset at this defendant’s selfish, sexually aggressive acts”.