Sarah Everard latest: Police officer arrested on suspicion of murder
The serving Metropolitan Police officer detained in connection with the disappearance of Sarah Everard has been arrested on suspicion of murder, Scotland Yard said this afternoon.
Police said the officer, who is in his 40s, had initially been arrested on suspicion of kidnap on Tuesday, and was then further arrested on suspicion of murder today.
He was also arrested over a separate allegation of indecent exposure.
The force said he is a member of the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command and his primary duty is uniformed patrol of diplomatic premises.
The news comes as detectives search a home and woodland in Kent as the investigation into Sarah’s disappearance widened.
The 33-year-old marketing executive, who is originally from York, vanished while walking home from a friend’s flat in south London on a week ago today (Wednesday 3 March).
Late on Tuesday, the Met Police said that a serving officer from the force had been arrested as part of the investigation, but in an unusual step would not reveal what he had been detained for.
On Wednesday, police searches were being carried out in two locations in Kent – land near Ashford and at a property in Deal.
A tent was erected at the front of a house in Freemens Way in Deal, and multiple cars were taken away by investigators. Later a metal fence was put up near the property.
A neighbour in the road said a police officer lives at the address with his “chatty” wife and two children.
She said: “They just seemed like a normal, regular family, there was nothing strange about them at all.”
She added police were digging up the garden.
The Metropolitan Police said that they were searching a number of locations in Kent but would not reveal where.
‘Hope she’s still alive’
Earlier, speaking to journalists outside Scotland Yard, Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said investigators “really hope” that Sarah is still alive.
The officer, who was not on duty at the time of Sarah’s disappearance, was arrested on Tuesday evening at an address in Kent, along with a woman who has been held on suspicion of assisting an offender.
Mr Ephgrave said: “This is a serious and significant development in our search for Sarah and the fact that the man who has been arrested is a serving Metropolitan Police officer is both shocking and deeply disturbing.”
He told reporters that detectives are working “at all speed” to find out what has happened to Ms Everard, and repeated appeals for members of the public to come forward with information.
Members of Sarah’s family from York, including her father Jeremy, have travelled to London to assist in the search.
Mr Ephgrave said: “As a father myself of four young women I can only imagine the anguish that Sarah’s family are feeling at this very very difficult time.”
Sarah is thought to have walked through Clapham Common towards her house in Brixton – a journey which should have taken around 50 minutes.
She was last captured on a doorbell camera walking along the A205 Poynders Road towards Tulse Hill at around 9.30pm on March 3.
On Tuesday evening, police put up a cordon outside a block of flats near where the footage was recorded.
The search was focused on the Poynders Court housing complex, and forensics officers could be seen examining the area.
Sniffer dogs were also used to search the nearby Oaklands Estate and gardens in surrounding streets, while other officers were lifting covers and searching drains along the A205.
‘It must be awful for them’
Boris Johnson’s thoughts are with missing woman Sarah Everard and her friends and family, Downing Street has said.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing: “As investigations are ongoing on this case I can’t comment.
“But the Prime Minister’s thoughts are with Sarah and her friends and family.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan told the PA news agency: “First and foremost I think all of our thoughts would be with Sarah’s family, her parents and her siblings and her friends.
“It must be awful for them, they are in our thoughts and prayers. Actually Sarah went missing from near to where I live and we’ve seen, my wife and daughters walking around, the posters her friends have put up and it’s heart-breaking, it’s heart-wrenching.”
He said he is in regular contact with the Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick about the investigation.
Mr Khan added: “It is now in the public domain that a serving Met Police officer has been arrested.
“One of the things that this confirms that actually our police service, when it comes to keeping the public safe, when it comes to investigating crime, they work in a situation that is without fear or favour. They will follow the investigation to wherever it takes.”