Sep 30, 2021 - World

U.K officer who killed Sarah Everard gets life sentence without parole

Picture of a floral tribute for Sarah Everard, in the center of the picture there's a drawing of Everard with the words "She deserved better."
Flowers, posters and cards are placed in tribute to Sarah Everard on Clapham Common on March 15 in London. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The London police officer who pleaded guilty to kidnapping, raping and murdering Sarah Everard was sentenced to life in prison without parole on Thursday, the BBC reports.

Why it matters: The case spurred an outcry across the U.K., with protests and anger from women who have shared their experiences of feeling unsafe and being threatened or attacked while walking alone.

The big picture: Life sentences are mandatory for murder cases in the U.K., but a court will usually determine a minimum time that must be served before someone is considered for early release, per CNN.

  • Judge Adrian Fulford, however, gave Wayne Couzens, the police officer, a whole life term because the seriousness of the case was "exceptionally high," the BBC notes. This means Couzens will never qualify for parole.

What they're saying: "The misuse of a police officer's role such as occurred in this case in order to kidnap, rape and murder a lone victim is of equal seriousness as a murder for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause," Fulford said, per the BBC.

  • Fulford described the murder as "grotesque" and told Couzens, "[y]ou've betrayed your family and there's no evidence of genuine contrition."

Catch up quick: Couzens abducted Everard as she walked home from a friend's house on March 3. He used his police identification to convince Everard that she had violated coronavirus regulations, handcuffed her and got her into his car, according to CNN.

  • She was later assaulted and strangled. Her body was found a week after her disappearance, about 50 miles away in southeast England.

Go deeper: U.K. police criticized for response to vigil for slain Sarah Everard

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