The police officer who kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard was linked to an indecent exposure incident at a McDonald’s in Swanley just 72 hours before her death. 

Wayne Couzens, 48, was yesterday handed a whole life order for the “grotesque” killing of the 33-year-old marketing executive, who went missing on March 3. 

At a briefing at Scotland Yard following the sentencing, Assistant Met Commissioner Nick Ephgrave told reporters Couzens was not named in the Swanley incident, which took place on February 28, but his car was reported to officers, who were said to have not yet completed the investigation.

Couzens reportedly pulled up to the drive-through naked from the waist down.

He also said a vetting check was not carried out “correctly” on Couzens when he joined the force in 2018, linking him to another indecent exposure allegation in Kent in 2015.

News Shopper: Sarah EverardSarah Everard

The vetting did not flag up that a vehicle associated with Couzens had been identified in the Kent Police investigation.

But Mr Ephgrave said that even if it had come up in the vetting process, it would not have changed the outcome because the investigation resulted in no further action and Couzens was never named as a suspect.

He added: “We ask anyone in the service or any member of the public that might have any information about Couzens’ behaviour – either as an officer or member of the public – that might be relevant, please come forward.”

Mr Ephgrave said the Met had been referred to the police watchdog over the Swanley incident and a file sent to the Crown Prosecution Service in relation to the alleged crime itself.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct is also investigating the conduct of five officers over allegations they sent discriminatory messages over WhatsApp. 

The Times reported the officers are alleged to have shared misogynistic, racist and homophobic material with Couzens months before he killed Ms Everard.

Met Deputy Commissioner Sir Stephen House told the London Assembly’s police and crime committee on Thursday that the actions of Couzens “constitute a gross betrayal of everything in policing that we believe in, everything that the Met stands for”.

He added: “He was one of us and we need to look at ourselves very, very carefully to understand, a, how was he allowed to be one of us, and what does it say about us as an organisation that he was.”

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