Wayne Couzens says he’s doesn’t deserve life for Sarah Everard murder at appeal

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Wayne Couzens has argued he did not deserve a whole-life order as the judge wrongly ruled he was not remorseful for the murder of Sarah Everard.

The killer had pleaded guilty to kidnapping, raping and murdering thew marketing executive, 33, and was handed a full-life term earlier this year.

He is arguing at the Court of Appeal that he should not be jailed until he dies

Lord Justice Fulford sentenced him to a landmark whole-life sentence, the first given for a murder not linked to terrorism.

Mr Sturman QC has appealed to have the sentence reduced to between 35 and 38 years, arguing the sentencing judge had found Couzens was “not remorseful” which was “untenable”.

Mr Sturman said Couzens had shown remorse and argued this was shown by not running a "wicked" defence to “pull the wool over the jury’s eyes” that would have placed “additional horror” on the Everard family.

He said: “Mr Couzens was produced for the sentencing hearing and as anybody commented at time he kept his head bowed and stared at the floor throughout.

“There was one moment of incredible pathos when Ms Everard’s sister challenged him to look at her and he raised his head briefly in response and looked at her.

“He was too ashamed to meet anybody’s eye. His remorse was also demonstrated by pleading guilty.

“Before much of the evidence was served, he indicated to us he took responsibility for the killing.

“Before the forensic pathologist evidence even served, he told us the mechanism of the killing and what he told us was entirely consistent with the killing.

“As soon as had confirmation from the psychiatrist he was fit to give instructions, he gave instructions he would plead guilty.”

Couzens, who abducted Sarah as she walked home from a friend’s house through Clapham, south London in March 2021 is said to have "handcuffed" and falsely "arrested" her.

When he was arrested at his home in Kent, Couzens claimed he had underpaid a prostitute and that the gang with links to this prostitute told him that, as a consequence, he had to deliver them "another girl".

Mr Sturman said although Couzens did say this to police initially, he did not try to construct a false defence for the trial, adding his client could have claimed he had consensual sex with Ms Everard or that he had killed her accidentally in rough sex.

He said: “The impact upon the Everard family cannot be understated but it is also important to bear in mind this sort of sentence and the effect it has on innocents – mainly this defendant’s family.

“They are not going to see him for decades. Mrs Couzens was utterly devastated at what her husband did – it was utterly incomprehensible to her. She did describe a loving husband and father."

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The court heard there are 64 prisoners currently serving whole-life orders and Couzens is “unique” in that he does not fall into any of the same category of case.

Mr Sturman said the court should only give a whole-life order for the murder of a single person in “wholly exceptional” cases should and must be “very slow to do that”.

Tim Little QC, for the Attorney General, said: “This was in any view a wholly exceptional case. This was offending of the utmost seriousness involving a serving police officer who used know-how and equipment and the like to act as the perpetrator not the victim.

“His criminality was found by the judge a fundamental attack on reality, on our democratic way of life.

“The judge was entitled to form the view that he did in relation to a lack of genuine contrition.”

The panel of senior judges will hand down the judgments on a date to be fixed.

  • Sarah Everard

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