It is one year since the terrible kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard, who went missing on March 3, 2021.
Sarah's tragic death caused outrage in London and across the country, particularly after it was discovered that she was murdered by Wayne Couzens, a serving Met Police officer.
Couzens' conviction, the rough dispersal of a vigil for Sarah on Clapham Common, as well as a number of other scandals in which sexist Whatsapp conversations revealed widespread inappropriate behaviour within the force, ultimately led to a loss of confidence in the Met.
Recently, Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick was forced to resign by London Mayor Sadiq Khan after yet more scandals involving police officers surfaced.
The Met said: "There have been other murders of women in public spaces, including the Sabina Nessa, and very recently of Sabina Nessa. All of these bring into sharp focus our urgent duty to do more to protect women and girls."
An inquiry by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) recently found "disgraceful" misogyny within the force that was not "simply the behaviour of a few 'bad apples'."
Where is Wayne Couzens now?
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Couzens is now behind bars, the rapist and murderer sentenced to life in prison without parole inside HMP Frankland.
The jail is in County Durham and has also housed the notorious murderers Harold Shipman and Ian Huntley.
In September 2021, Couzens challenged his sentence in an appeal that is likely to take place in May this year and is expected to argue that his actions did not warrant a whole life sentence.
His sentence was described as setting new legal ground as he was given a life term for the murder of one person. Typically this is not a crime that constitutes a life sentence without parole, also known as a whole life tariff.
Even if the application is rejected, Couzens will be able to try again as whole life tariffs are generally given to those who have committed murder in crimes amounting to terrorism.
Murder carries a mandatory life sentence as the minimum punishment, but Couzens' whole life tariff made him one of around 60 people who will never be released.
In February this year, it was reported that Couzens was "suffering quite badly" with Covid.
Who was Sarah Everard?
Sarah was a 33-year-old marketing executive described as a "shining example" by her family.
They said: "Sarah was bright and beautiful – a wonderful daughter and sister. She was kind and thoughtful, caring and dependable."
Originally from York, she lived in Brixton and moved to London after graduating from St Cuthbert’s Society at Durham University in 2008.
In a heart-wrenching statement, Sarah's mother confronted Couzens in court.
She said: "I yearn for her. I remember all the lovely things about her. She was caring, she was funny. She was clever, but she was good at practical things too. She was a beautiful dancer.
"She was a wonderful daughter. She was always there to listen, to advise, or simply to share with the minutiae of the day. And she was also a strongly principled young woman."
How did Sarah Everard die?
Sarah was walking home from a friend's house on March 3 when she was abducted by Couzens at 9:34pm, who tricked her into thinking he was arresting her for breaking Covid rules. He handcuffed her and bundled her in the back of a hire car.
The abduction was witnessed by a passing couple, but they assumed it was a legitimate arrest by an undercover police officer.
Couzens then drove to Dover in Kent, where he transferred her over to his own car and drove to a wooded area close by.
The Met officer strangled her with his police belt and tried to cover up his sick crimes by torching her body with petrol.
He was arrested on March 9, but not before he had taken his own wife and children on a family trip to the woods where he'd dumped Sarah's remains inside rubble bags.
The case caused outrage as high rates of violence by men towards women continues and the murderer was a serving member of the police force designed to protect people.
The Met issued a statement, which read: "Understanding the concerns of women in London is really important to us and we are undertaking a range of activity so we can better listen and respond.
"Couzens’ crimes are the most extreme example of this betrayal. They have been shattering for everybody and of course people have questions about the integrity of officers."
Couzens later pleaded guilty to her kidnap, rape and murder after initially denying the crimes.
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