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A British police constable has pleaded guilty to kidnapping and raping Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old woman who disappeared in March while walking home from a friend’s south London house.
Wayne Couzens, 48, took responsibility for kidnapping and raping the marketing executive in court at London’s Old Bailey Tuesday, according to The Guardian.
“Guilty, sir,” he said when asked how he pleaded to the charges against him.
It was the only time the Metropolitan police officer, who appeared virtually from jail wearing grey sweatshirt and khaki pants, spoke during the proceedings.
Couzens admitted to kidnapping Everard “unlawfully and by force or fraud” on March 3, as well as raping her sometime between March 2 and March 10.
He is also facing murder charges in connection to the case, but did not enter a plea on that charge.
Everard disappeared March 3 after her leaving her friend’s south London home. She had planned to walk the 2.5 miles to her home in Brixton, but never arrived. Her boyfriend reported her missing the following day, the BBC reports.
Her body was discovered in a wooded area of Kent, more than 50 miles away from where she disappeared, on March 10, according to The Associated Press.
Police announced last week that an autopsy determined the 33-year-old had died from compression of the neck, The Guardian reported.
Everard’s death sparked a public outcry and fostered a new debate about women, safety and what the criminal justice system is doing to punish those who carry out violence against women.
Everard has been remembered by her family as a “bright and beautiful” woman.
“She was kind and thoughtful, caring and dependable. She always put others first and had the most amazing sense of humour,” her family said in a statement shortly after her death.
Couzens joined the Metropolitan Police in September of 2018, according to a statement from police.
In February of 2020, he was moved to the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, where his role was to perform uniformed patrols of diplomatic premises.
Couzens is expected to appear in court again for another hearing on July 9.
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