Former London police officer Wayne Couzens has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of Sarah Everard.
Judge Adrian Fulford handed the former police officer his sentence on Thursday, telling him, "I have seen no evidence of genuine contrition on your part," The Washington Post reports. The sentence Couzens received, a whole life order under which he can't be considered for parole, is "very rare and reserved for exceptionally serious crimes," CNN writes. In fact, he was the "first police officer to receive this sentence," The Times editor Fiona Hamilton reported, noting it means he "will never be released." Couzens had pleaded guilty.
Prosecutors said Couzens kidnaped, raped, and strangled 33-year-old Everard after stopping her and telling her to get in his car, falsely arresting her for supposedly violating COVID-19 rules, CNN reports. Couzens showed Everard his police identification, prosecutors said. There was a "significant degree of planning and premeditating" involved, according to prosecutor Tom Little, who said Couzens used "his office knowledge and equipment, including warrant card and handcuffs and police belt, to commit the offenses," per the Post.
The case prompted outrage across the country, with the Women's Equality Party saying, "Women cannot be expected to trust the police when we have to live with the fear of this." Fulford said Thursday that Couzens had "eroded the confidence that the public are entitled to have to the police force in England and Wales," The New York Times reports. The judge also described the case as "devastating, tragic and wholly brutal," calling Everard a "blameless victim" of "grotesque" offenses and saying that Couzens had been "hunting a lone female to kidnap and rape," CNN reports. The Metropolitan Police has said it was "sickened, angered & devastated by his crimes," which "betray everything we stand for."