Sarah Everard cops search maze of military tunnels near Wayne Couzens' family garage – and say suspect 'WAS a stranger'

DETECTIVES probing Sarah Everard's disappearance have been searching a maze of tunnels near the Met police officer suspect's former family garage.

PC Wayne Couzens, 48, is being held on suspicion of Sarah's abduction and murder.

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Teams of cops have been carrying out a major search on the cliffs of Dover, scouring miles of tunnels and old military fortifications for clues.

Police don't believe the elite protection officer had ever met Sarah, 33, previously with her disappearance being treated as a "stranger attack", police sources have told The Times.

Sarah vanished last week after last being seen in south London, with human remains found on Wednesday in woodland in Ashford, Kent.

Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick did not confirm the remains belonged to marketing executive Sarah.

'SNATCHED'

A source told The Sun: "The working hypothesis is that the attacker saw Sarah on the street for the first time and kidnapped her."

A disused garage that was run by the Couzens family until 2015 was amonglocations searched by cops at Dover, The Times reports.

Met Police officers probed the entrance to a network of tunnels as well as military fortifications at the cliffs near the Kent town's harbour.

The tunnels, which date back to the 19th century, were used as a shelter during World War Two.

If you have any information at all about Sarah's disappearance please call 0208 785 8244 – or contact @CrimestoppersUK anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Cops used specialist electronic search equipment to examine a National Heritage fortification containing hundreds of rooms close to the garage.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Couzens was a member of the Army Reserve and also served in the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment for two years from 2002.

Couzens was initially arrested at his home in Deal, Kent, on Tuesday on suspicion of kidnap before rearrested on suspicion of murder.

He has been linked to an alleged sex offence three days before the kidnap and murder of Sarah, it emerged last night.

But police may have failed to act and arrest Couzens over the accusation of indecent exposure at a fast food takeaway in south London.







A man is alleged to have exposed himself to female staff at the takeaway on February 28.

The incident is said to have been captured on CCTV.

Staff reported it to police on the night, but no action was taken in connection over the alleged incident.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) announced it is investigating the Met over the apparent failure to act on the indecent exposure report. 

The apparent police blunder over the alleged indecent exposure emerged after Couzens was found unconscious in custody with a “serious” head injury and taken to hospital yesterday.

The police watchdog last night announced they are also investigating the Met Police over the injury sustained by Couzens.

In a statement, the IOPC said: "The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has started an independent investigation into whether Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officers responded appropriately to a report of indecent exposure.

"The IOPC’s investigation follows a conduct referral from the MPS in relation to two officers, received last night, which is linked to four other referrals.

"They are all connected to the arrest of a serving MPS officer on suspicion of kidnap, murder and a separate allegation of indecent exposure.

"Our investigation will look at the actions of the MPS after police received a report on 28 February that a man had exposed himself at a fast food restaurant in South London."

Meanwhile, a woman arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender was released on bail to return to a police station in April.

Couzens worked with an elite Met Police unit responsible for guarding Parliament and embassies.

On the day Sarah vanished, Couzens is believed to have worked at the US Embassy in south west London


Sarah's family yesterday paid tribute to their "bright and beautiful daughter and sister".

In a statement, Sarah's family said: "Our beautiful daughter Sarah was taken from us and we are appealing for any information that will help to solve this terrible crime.

"Sarah was bright and beautiful – a wonderful daughter and sister. She was kind and thoughtful, caring and dependable. She always put others first and had the most amazing sense of humour.

"She was strong and principled and a shining example to us all. We are very proud of her and she brought so much joy to our lives.

"We would like to thank our friends and family for all their support during this awful time and we would especially like to thank Sarah’s friends who are working tirelessly to help."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “shocked and deeply saddened by the developments in the Sarah Everard investigation”, adding “we must work fast to find all the answers to this horrifying crime”.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "I am deeply saddened by the developments in the Sarah Everard investigation. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with Sarah, her family and friends at this unbearable time.

 

"Many women have shared their stories and concerns online since Sarah’s disappearance last week. These are so powerful because each and every woman can relate.

"Every woman should feel safe to walk on our streets without fear of harassment or violence.

"At this deeply sad and tragic time as we think and pray for Sarah and her family, I will continue through my role to do all I can to protect women and girls from violence and harassment."

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