LONDON — The police officer who abducted, raped and murdered Sarah Everard was sentenced on Thursday to life in prison by Britain’s top criminal court, after two days of hearings that reignited outrage at the way London’s police department handles cases involving violence against women.
The sentence was announced a day after prosecutors detailed how the officer, Wayne Couzens, abused his authority and, under the guise of the coronavirus restrictions imposed during a national lockdown in March, deceived Ms. Everard into thinking that she was under arrest. Prosecutors said he used his official credentials, equipment and training to carry out the crime, revelations that shocked rights activists and lawmakers.
Judge Adrian Bruce Fulford, in explaining why Mr. Couzens would not be eligible for parole, said he had “irretrievably damaged the lives of Sarah Everard’s family and friends” and “eroded the confidence that the public are entitled to have in the police force in England and Wales.”
Judge Fulford added that the “misuse of a police officer’s role” justified the steepest possible sentence.
On Thursday there were also renewed calls for the resignation of Cressida Dick, the head of London’s Metropolitan Police, who has been under fire for the department’s response to the killing ever since Ms. Everard’s charred body was found in the woods near Kent last March.
Harriet Harman, an opposition Labour lawmaker and the chairwoman of Parliament’s human rights committee, said she believed it was impossible for Ms. Dick to make the necessary changes in the force.
“Women need to be confident that the police are there to make them safe not put them at risk,” she
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