Sarah Everard suspect Wayne Couzens ‘exposed himself in MCDONALD'S' in incident reported to cops before she vanished

A COP being quizzed over the suspected murder and kidnap of Sarah Everard has been linked to an indecent exposure report at McDonald's, it was reported today.

The police watchdog now investigating whether officers responded "appropriately" to a report linked to Wayne Couzens, 48, three days before Sarah, 33, disappeared.

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It has been claimed police failed to act and arrest Couzens over the accusation of indecent exposure at the fast food take away in South London on February 28.  

It meant he was still working as a gun cop for three days and free to allegedly snatch 33-year-old Sarah on March 3.

A source today told The Standard: "It’s definitely not that police did nothing about the indecent exposure or that they turned a blind eye to a crime by a colleague. But the question will be whether the case was progressed quickly enough."

Marketing executive Sarah was walking home from Clapham on Wednesday last week when she vanished.

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.

It comes as…

  • Sarah Everard disappeared while walking home to Brixton from Clapham last week
  • Sarah's family said the 33-year-old was a "kind and beautiful" woman
  • Remains were found in Ashford, Kent, during the hunt for the marketing executive
  • Wayne Couzens, 48, was taken to hospital with head injuries after being taken into custody
  • The suspect was linked to an alleged sex offence three days before Sarah disappeared
  • Organisers of a vigil for Sarah Everard have been left furious after the Met Police threatened them with fines under Covid rules
  • CCTV from a London bus has helped cops in their investigations, it was reported

Couzens was alone in his cell at Wandsworth police station, in South West London, when the incident happened.

He was taken to St George’s Hospital, Tooting, and initially taken into the intensive care unit.

His condition later improved and following treatment and a brain scan Couzens was later returned to custody.

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

There is no suggestion anyone else was involved in the incident.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct also announced they are investigating the Met over the apparent failure to act on the indecent exposure report.  

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

The incident is said to have been captured on CCTV.




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

Had he been arrested over the allegation, Couzens would automatically have had his “blue ticket” firearm licence revoked and suspended from duty.  

Former Met detective chief inspector Mick Neville said: "He would have been suspended from duty and would have been at home."

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.

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"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."

The Met Police last night said they were "offering every assistance to the IOPC".

Couzens was arrested on Tuesday night – six days after Sarah vanished as she walked home in Clapham, South West London.

Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said human remains had been found in woods — but did not confirm they belonged to marketing executive Sarah.

Sarah's family last night paid tribute to her as a 'kind and beautiful daughter' and urged anyone with information to contact police.

The site where officers found the remains is 30 miles from the Deal home where Couzens was arrested.

Cops moved in on married dad-of-two PC Couzens after a car linked to him was allegedly spotted on a motorist’s dashcam near to where Sarah was last seen on the night of Wednesday, March 3.

CCTV footage from local buses is believed to have led to the breakthrough in the case.

The marksman, whose role involves guarding politicians and protecting events attended by senior royals, is believed to have worked a shift in South London that day.

His Ukraine-born wife Elena, 38, who works as a laboratory manager, has also been arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender. She has since been released on bail.

Police do not believe the officer had ever met Sarah previously.

A source said previously: “The working hypothesis is that he saw Sarah on the street for the first time and kidnapped her.

“At this stage it is thought the officer used his warrant card to entice Sarah towards his car.

“One theory is that he may have used the Covid lockdown as a pretext to engage with her and then snatched her.”

PC Couzens is attached to the Met’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection (PaDP) unit normally based at the Palace of Westminster.

Detectives probing Sarah’s ­suspected murder searched his locker as the investigation gathered speed.


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 added: "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."

Sarah had been walking from a friend's house on Wednesday last week – heading back to her Brixton home.

However, she vanished that night – with police launching a desperate hunt for the 33-year-old.

Following the arrest of the police officer, the Metropolitan Police has made a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

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


NINE DAYS OF HORROR

MARCH 3

8pm: PC Wayne Couzens finishes his shift at the US Embassy in Nine Elms, South West London.

9pm: Sarah Everard leaves a friend’s house on Leathwaite Road, Clapham, South London, to walk home to her flat in Brixton. It should take 50 minutes.

9.28pm: Sarah ends a 15-minute phone call with her partner Josh Lowth.

9.30pm: Sarah, below, is last seen on doorbell camera footage on A205 (South Circular) Poynders Road, from the ­junction with Cavendish Road, in the direction of Tulse Hill.

MARCH 9

4pm: Police officers cordon off a block of flats on Poynders Road. Sniffer dogs and forensic teams search the nearby grassy area and inspect the pavement outside Poynders Court.

8pm: PC Couzens is arrested at his home in Freemen’s Way, Deal, Kent, on suspicion of kidnap and his wife Elena Couzens is held on suspicion of assisting an offender.

MARCH 10

1am: Dozens of officers swoop on a derelict former golf course in Bear’s Lane near the village of Great Chart at Ashford, Kent, which is 56 miles from where Sarah was last seen.

8am: Specialist search officers comb the area and woodland for clues and block off access to Great Chart Golf and ­Leisure Country Club. This is also ­operated as a paintballing course and has a farm building.

9am: Police remove two cars from PC Couzens’s house in Deal. Officers also put up a tent in the front garden of the property.

3pm: PC Couzens was further arrested on suspicion of murder and a separate allegation of indecent exposure.

3pm: Police block off car access to both Bear’s Lane and Fridd Lane, which together span five miles round the site.

4.30pm: A forensics team arrives at the golf course, joining some 150 officers.

8pm: It is announced that human remains have been discovered in woodland at the search area.

MARCH 11

Early hours: PC Couzens is treated in hospital and discharged for head injury sustained during a second night at a South London police station.

6.30pm: Independent Office for Police Conduct announces an investigation into actions of the Met after claims against an officer of indecent exposure at a South London takeaway on February 28.

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