The male police officer suspected of kidnapping and murdering Sarah Everard was taken to hospital with a head injury after reportedly being found collapsed in his cell.

Police said the suspect, who is in his 40s, was treated, discharged and returned to the police station where he is being held.

His identity has still not been officially confirmed, but has been widely reported in the media as Wayne Couzens, 48.

He was found collapsed and unconscious in his cell on Thursday after suffering serious head wounds, according to The Sun.

It has been reported that there is no indication at this time of anyone else having been involved.

The Met said: “The suspect was taken to a hospital for treatment to a head injury sustained while in custody.

“He has since been discharged and returned to custody. We are not prepared to discuss further.”

The officer, who is in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, was held on Tuesday night on suspicion of kidnap before being further arrested on suspicion of murder and a separate allegation of indecent exposure the following day.

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A woman in her 30s has also been arrested in connection with the investigation on suspicion of assisting an offender.

Ms Everard vanished while walking home from a friend’s flat in south London on March 3.

She is thought to have walked through Clapham Common towards her house in Brixton – a journey which should have taken around 50 minutes.

Ms Everard was last captured on a doorbell camera walking along the A205 Poynders Road towards Tulse Hill at around 9.30pm.

The family of Sarah today paid tribute to her as a “shining example to us all”, describing her as a daughter and sister who “brought so much joy to our lives”.

In a statement released on their behalf by the Metropolitan Police, the 33-year-old marketing executive’s family appealed for information to help the force’s investigation.

They said: “Our beautiful daughter Sarah was taken from us and we are appealing for any information that will help to solve this terrible crime.

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“Sarah was bright and beautiful – a wonderful daughter and sister. She was kind and thoughtful, caring and dependable.

“We would like to thank our friends and family for all their support during this awful time and we would especially like to thank Sarah’s friends who are working tirelessly to help.

“We are so grateful to the police and would like to thank them for all they are doing. We are now pleading for additional help from the public.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said today he was “shocked and deeply saddened”, adding: “We must work fast to find all the answers to this horrifying crime.”

The events have prompted an outpouring of shock and anger as women across the country shared their own experiences of feeling unsafe.