British police officer Wayne Couzens was remanded in custody Tuesday and told he will be tried later this year on charges of kidnapping and murdering Sarah Everard as she walked home in London.
Couzens — who serves with the diplomatic protection unit of London’s Metropolitan police force — appeared by videolink from prison at London Old Bailey central criminal court on Tuesday.
The 48-year-old cop spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth as a plea hearing was set for July 9 and a provisional trial date for Oct. 25. He did not make an application for bail.
Wearing gray sweatpants and a red sweater, Couzens sat hunched forward with his head bowed during most of the 25-minute hearing, London’s Evening Standard said.
He had a noticeable cut on his forehead, having earlier been taken from his cell to a London hospital after being found injured in custody.
Couzens, from Deal in Kent, was charged Friday with murder and kidnap following a “significant and wide-ranging investigation,” prosecutor Tom Little told the court, according to the Standard.
Everard, 33, went missing on March 3 as she walked home to south London’s Brixton after visiting friends in nearby Clapham. Her boyfriend reported her missing the next day.
The marketing executive’s body was discovered a week later in woods in Ashford, Kent, about 50 miles from where she had last been seen. An official cause of death has not yet been given.
Her death sparked mass anger in the UK, with Prince William’s wife, Kate Middleton, among those taking flowers to a vigil — one that ended in further outrage at heavy-handed police tactics against women showing solidarity.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson chaired a special meeting Monday night about safety risks faced by women as well as actions to “identify predatory and suspicious offenders.”
“The horrific case of Sarah Everard has unleashed a wave of feeling about women not feeling safe at night,” Johnson said. “We must do everything we can to ensure our streets are safe.”
With Post wires
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