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‘There’s other Wayne Couzens in the Met right now’, woman arrested at Sarah Everard vigil says

A woman arrested at a vigil for murdered Sarah Everard has told Sky News the Metropolitan Police hasn’t changed since and “there’s other Wayne Couzens in the Met right now”.

Patsy Stevenson, a campaigner and equal rights activist, was speaking after an inquiry said on Thursday that Wayne Couzens, the serving Met officer who murdered Ms Everard in 2021, should never have been allowed to join the force.

Major red flags about Couzens were “repeatedly ignored” by police vetting and investigations, the report stated, including his taste for “extreme and violent pornography” and evidence he allegedly committed a “very serious sexual assault against a child” before his policing career even began.

Patsy Stevenson was arrested while attending a vigil for Sarah Everard
Image: Patsy Stevenson was arrested while attending a vigil for Sarah Everard. Pic: Reuters

Ms Stevenson told The UK Tonight with Sarah-Jane Mee, she was “exhausted” of hearing words like ‘urgent’, ‘shocked’ and ‘sorry’ in relation to police reform.

She said: “Three years ago we had this sort of promise of we’re going to vet them correctly, we’re going to do this, with going to do that. And it’s still not happened in that time.

“We’ve had David Carrick, we’ve had Cliff Mitchell. We’ve had so many others. You know, you type in ‘Met Police rapists’ on Google, there’s just so many of them, which is ridiculous and abhorrent.”

Mandatory Credit: Photo by James Veysey/Shutterstock (11798757w)
A woman is arrested at a vigil in memory of murdered Sarah Everard. Patsy Stevenson
Sarah Everard vigil, Clapham, London, UK - 13 Mar 2021
Image: Patsy Sevenson was arrested at a vigil in memory of murdered Sarah Everard. Pic: James Veysey/Shutterstock

Both Carrick and Mitchell are former Met officers and convicted sex offenders, both found guilty of multiple rapes.

More on David Carrick

Ms Stevenson said officers had told her, if they suspected a colleague of having the wrong attitude to women, they wouldn’t say anything about it for fear of getting them in trouble.

She said: “You know that there’s police that would say those things, who view women a certain way, and you still don’t say anything because that’s what it’s about.

“It’s not just whether they make a comment or whether they do something. It’s a mindset right now, 100%. There’s other Wayne Cousins in the Met right now.

Wayne Couzens
Image: Wayne Couzens. Pic: PA

“All policing systems still have this culture of misogyny, racism, homophobia and there’s not enough space for people to speak up about it when they are in that system. And protection for those people who do speak up.

“But also, we’re not dealing with the actual culture. If you’re objectifying women, that’s misogyny. If you have those thoughts in your head already, you’re already on that path.

“These people that are murdering and raping women aren’t some horror movie character hiding down an alleyway. Wayne Couzens had a family… you may think you can trust them, but they can be very manipulative. You don’t know who these people are.”

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‘Couzens was careful to disguise toxic behaviours’

The former firearms officer will never be released from prison after he used his police-issued warrant card to stage a fake arrest and snatch Sarah Everard in Clapham, south London, on 3 March 2021.

He drove the 33-year-old marketing executive to a secluded rural area near Dover in Kent, raped and strangled her with his police-issue belt before burning her body in a fridge and dumping her remains in a pond.

Read more:
How Sarah Everard’s killer was caught
Timeline: Wayne Couzen’s behaviour and crimes

‘Shameful’ report exposes wider issues

Asked if women are safe with police, Ms Stevenson’s answer was unequivocal.

She said: “I personally believe that women shouldn’t trust the police. I wish we could. We hear the rhetoric of, you know, well, ‘who else are you going to go to’? Nobody. There isn’t anyone right now. And that’s a scary thought. There is nobody that women and girls trust when things go bad.”

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Sarah Everard protesters’ tearful reunion

Ms Stevenson said she found it hard to discuss the moment of her arrest.

Pictures of her being pinned down by officers at the event in March 2021, widely seen at the time, “still spark emotions in me. I still have nightmares about what happened to me.

“I know that growing up in this world, they [women] can’t trust police, they can’t walk down the road without fear. It feels like we’re a second-class citizen at the moment.”

Sky News Source