Wayne Couzens, convicted of the murder, rape and kidnap of Sarah Everard, has been dismissed from the police service in London with immediate effect following the conclusion of a misconduct hearing.
Today (Friday 16 July) a hearing chaired by Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball found that the conduct of PC Couzens, aged 48, who was attached to the Met’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour in respect of discreditable conduct.
He was dismissed without notice.
The allegations considered were that:
On Tuesday, 8 June PC Couzens appeared at the Central Criminal Court. At the hearing he pleaded guilty to the kidnap and rape of Sarah Everard, originally from York, who lived in London.
On Friday, 9 July PC Couzens appeared at the Central Criminal Court. At the hearing he pleaded guilty to the murder of Sarah Everard.
Following consultation with interested parties, including the Crown Prosecution Service, the Assistant Commissioner decided the hearing should be held in private.
She acknowledged that such hearings would normally be held in public and that there is heightened public interest in this particular case.
However, the Metropolitan Police say: “The need for transparency in misconduct proceedings is significantly outweighed by the risk of interfering with criminal proceedings.
“Having carefully considered the representations put forward, AC Ball was persuaded that there remains a real risk of undermining the criminal case, despite PC Couzens’ guilty pleas.”
However, AC Ball’s decision was published today. The document says:
I have had the benefit of the papers in advance of today and have read them carefully.
I have listened to the case presented by the Appropriate Authority. I have carefully considered the documentary evidence provided to me, including:
• The summary of what happened in the Investigation report
• The statements certifying PC Couzens’ pleas of guilty
PC Couzens has not provided any response and therefore he has not made an admission of gross misconduct.
There is therefore a requirement on me to formally find the matter proven as gross misconduct and I do so as follows:
I consider that PC Couzens has breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour in respect of Discreditable Conduct – in that he pleaded guilty to and has been convicted of kidnap, rape and murder. He will be sentenced later this year.
These are the facts of this case. It will be obvious to all that behaving in this way, that is in committing these appalling crimes, and being convicted of a total of three of the most serious possible criminal offences in respect of this behaviour, discredits the police service and undermines confidence in it.
But it is right that I make it very clear that I find the facts of this case proved on the basis of the records of the pleas and the convictions and that these facts amount to a breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour that are required of police officers.
I have reminded myself that gross misconduct is a breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour so serious that dismissal would be justified. Applying that definition, I find the matter proven as gross misconduct.
PC Couzens behaved in the manner described and can have been in no doubt whatsoever that this was criminal and harmful behaviour of the utmost seriousness at every stage.
His criminal convictions further reflect the gravity of the breach of Professional Standards.
I therefore find the matter proven as gross misconduct.
AC Ball said later: “Couzens has betrayed everything we, the police, stand for and following his guilty pleas and convictions I have dismissed him today.
“All of us in the Met are horrified, sickened and angered by this man’s crimes. Sarah was a young woman who had her life cruelly snatched away from her.
“We are so profoundly sorry.”