Police searching for Sarah Everard have found human remains, the day after an officer was arrested over her disappearance.
Police searching for missing woman Sarah Everard in the United Kingdom believe they have found human remains, the day after a serving Metropolitan Police officer was arrested in connection with her disappearance.
“This evening, detectives and search teams investigating Sarah’s disappearance have found, very sadly, what appears to be human remains,” Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick told reporters at a media conference, at around 8pm local time today.
“The discovery was made in an area of woodland in Ashford, in Kent. As you can imagine, at this early stage, we are not able to confirm any identity. And indeed, that may take us some considerable time.
“Specialist officers have been with Sarah to update them on the investigation and to continue to give them the best support we possibly can.
“The news it was a Met Police officer arrested on suspicion of Sarah’s murder has sent shockwaves and anger through the public and the Met. I speak on behalf of all our colleagues when I say we are utterly appalled.”
Wayne Couzens, a 48-year-old father of two and a diplomatic protection officer, was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping at his home in Deal, Kent last night. He has since been re-arrested on suspicion of murder.
Police also arrested a woman at the same location on suspicion of “assisting an offender”.
Mr Couzens’ primary job was to perform uniformed patrols. The Sun reports his work saw him provide protection at “major public events attended by senior members of the royal family”.
Ms Everard was last seen a week ago, on Wednesday night, when a camera captured her walking home from her friend’s house in southwest London at about 9:30pm. The 33-year-old was en route to her flat in a nearby residential district, Brixton, but never arrived.
Her family said her disappearance was “totally out of character” and her phone was not ringing when called.
Police launched a large scale search operation, and appealed to the public for help.
In a statement earlier today, the Met announced Mr Couzens had been arrested again on suspicion of murder, as well as an unrelated allegation of indecent exposure.
“A man arrested in connection with the disappearance of Sarah Everard remains in custody at a London police station,” the police said.
“The man, who is aged in his 40s, was arrested on the evening of March 9 on suspicion of kidnap. Today he has been further arrested on suspicion of murder and a separate allegation of indecent exposure.
“The man is a serving Metropolitan Police officer in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command. His primary role was uniformed patrol duties of diplomatic premises.
“A woman, who is aged in her 30s, was also arrested on the evening of March 9 on suspicion of assisting the offender. She remains in custody.
“Officers are searching locations in London and Kent including a property in Deal and an area of woodland near Ashford.
“Following the arrest of the police officer, the Metropolitan Police has made a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.”
Speaking to reporters this morning, Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said the suspect was believed not to have been on duty at the time of Ms Everard’s disappearance.
“This is a serious and significant development in our search for Sarah,” he said of the two arrests.
“And the fact that the man who’s been arrested is a serving officer is both shocking and deeply disturbing. I recognise the significant concern this will cause.
“It’s really important that the investigation team are given time to find Sarah, and they are working at all speed to do so.
“I would also like to thank all members of the public who’ve come forward since we made our appeal to give information. Every piece of information is important to us, and I would reissue that request now, that anyone who thinks they may know anything about Sarah’s disappearance please come forward.
“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. My thoughts and prayers, and those of the entire organisation, are with them now.”
Ms Everard’s cousin Tom also appealed for the public to come forward with any information.
“We have to believe Sarah will still be found and brought back safely,” he said.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has issued a statement saying “all of our thoughts” are with Ms Everard’s family and 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,” Mr Khan said.
“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.”