Wayne Couzens: Devoted father who hid dark desire to rape and kill

Wayne Couzens: Devoted father who hid dark desire to rape and kill
Wayne Couzens: Devoted father who hid dark desire to rape and kill

Even after he was arrested over the disappearance of Sarah Everard, Wayne Couzens' high standing among people who knew him saw his mother-in-law insist he was 'a wonderful family man'.

But the smiling face of the father-of-two who doted on his children masked a depraved sexual deviant addicted to pornography and twisted fantasies.

His utter disregard for his victim saw him try and burn her dead body before leaving it in a bag near land he had used as a family grave site to scatter ashes.  

But by day Couzens was guarding some of the most important VIPs and maintaining an inscrutable veneer as Met Police Diplomatic Protection Officer. And before that he guarded the Dungeness Nuclear Power station in another job of great trust and responsibility.

However, at the same time, in June 2015, there was the first of a series of escalating incidents and clues that would horrifically culminate in the murder of Sarah. 

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Kent Police - with whom he volunteered from 2005 to 2009 - received a complaint a man had been spotted driving around Dover naked from the waist down.

No arrests were made and the fact it was suspected to be Couzens was kept secret until today when the Independent Office for Police Conduct revealed the crime.

The IOPC revealed the allegation as it confirmed Couzens was suspected of two other indecent exposures feared not to have been properly probed by the Met force days before he killed Sarah. 

Despite the past cases, Couzens was still a member of the elite Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection squad at the time of Sarah's killing – a role that entitled him to carry a firearm and a Metropolitan Police warrant card.

Family man: Couzens with wife Elena, 38, and their two children on a family holiday abroad in much happier times

Family man: Couzens with wife Elena, 38, and their two children on a family holiday abroad in much happier times

Responsible jobs: Couzens worked as Kent Police, volunteer guarding nuclear facilities and as a diplomatic protection officer

Responsible jobs: Couzens worked as Kent Police, volunteer guarding nuclear facilities and as a diplomatic protection officer

Depraved killer: The chilling police mugshot after he was detained for the murder and rape of his victim Sarah Everard

Depraved killer: The chilling police mugshot after he was detained for the murder and rape of his victim Sarah Everard

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Formed in 2015, the unit is responsible for the protection of government owned buildings and embassies as well as ministers and visiting heads of state.

As part of his armed duties protecting MPs and dignitaries, Couzens has provided static security for major public events attended by senior members of the Royal Family.

All police recruits undergo careful vetting to check whether they have a criminal record when they join the force. To be accepted into the elite Westminster armed unit, officers must face rigorous tests and firearms training.

Scotland Yard has referred itself to the police watchdog over the arrest of its own officer and separately over the force's actions after Sarah was reported missing.  

It was the latest revelation on Couzens, who admitted regularly meeting with prostitutes and was also suspected of taking dangerous body-building steroids.

The wife of Couzens told of her horror at the police officer's sickening crimes and her distress at failing to spot any warning signs in the months before Sarah's kidnap and murder.

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, Elena Couzens, 38, said: 'I keep on asking 'why?' What Wayne did wasn't human behaviour.'

As Couzens today pleaded guilty to snatching Ms Everard, 33, off the street and then raping her, his wife of 15 years says she is still picking up the pieces of her shattered life and rebuilding it together with the couple's two young children.

'If I had any idea what was going on in Wayne's head, then none of this would've happened but I didn't know anything,' she said.

'He didn't appear to be acting strangely. I didn't notice anything was wrong. I'm working full time, most of the time I'm dropping the children off at school and picking them up, I have a really busy lifestyle.

'I can't comprehend it because he never once previously showed any glimpse of violence, he was never that way. I'm just as puzzled as everyone else.

Depraved killer:

Depraved killer: 

Killer officer was accused of indecent exposure three days before he murdered Sarah

The public reacted with horror when the Metropolitan Police announced that one of their own had been arrested over the death of Sarah Everard.

Wayne Couzens, who is married with children, was a highly trusted member of the force's Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command.

The armed unit is responsible for guarding the Parliamentary estate, including Downing Street and the Palace of Westminster, as well as embassies in London.

The 48-year-old officer had been accused of indecent exposure in a branch of fast food restaurant McDonald's three days before Miss Everard died, but was not arrested or taken off duty while the matter was investigated.

A number of separate troubling incidents involving police officers have attracted public attention in recent months.

In June, West Mercia Pc Benjamin Monk was convicted of the manslaughter of former footballer Dalian Atkinson, having kicked the 48-year-old in the head twice after what the judge called an 'excessive' 33-second use of a Taser.

In April, former probationary Metropolitan Police officer Ben Hannam, 22, was found guilty of membership of banned right-wing extremist group National Action (NA) and jailed for four years.

He had been with the London force for nearly two years before he was found on a leaked database of users of extreme right-wing forum Iron March and arrested last year.

Hannam, who pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited image of a child, was also convicted of lying on his application and vetting forms to join the police and having two terror documents detailing knife combat and making explosive devices.

In March, ex-Pc Oliver Banfield, who served with West Midlands Police, was given a curfew and ordered to pay compensation and costs after admitting assault by beating. 

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'I saw nothing wrong. He had a beautiful family, a good house… what else did he need? I'm constantly asking myself 'where I did miss the signs?' How on earth could this have happened?'  

Born in Dover, Kent, in 1972, Couzens was the eldest of two boys, whose father ran a body shop and garage.

The brothers joined their father's business after leaving school, with a former receptionist at the garage describing Couzens as  kind, thoughtful and charming

She told the Telegraph: 'There was no sign he could be like that. Wayne was lovely to work with. He was a really nice chap. He was thoughtful and friendly and got on with his work.

'I was the only lady who worked there because it was a garage, but he was always polite and respectful towards me. When he was arrested for the poor girl's murder I was completely shocked. 

Her husband agreed and said Couzens actions in killing Sarah were a 'mystery'.  

After his time in his father's garage, he became a police officer, though he first served as a volunteer Special Sergeant between 2005 and 2009. 

He was an army reservist for two years before, in 2011, finally being accepted by the Civil Nuclear Constabulary an armed police force tasked with guarding the country's atomic power network.

Couzens went through firearms training before being posted to the Sellafield reprocessing site in Cumbria, where he spent eight months. 

He then transferred to the Dungeness Nuclear Power station close to home in Kent and, after seven years of service without any issues, he transferred to the Met. 

But after seven years of unblemished service with the force he applied for a transfer to the Metropolitan Police. 

In 2020, after joining the Met, colleagues said he became obsessed with bodybuilding and the gym, leading to fears he was abusing steroids. 

One ex-officer said: 'There are some pictures of Couzens where his arms are huge so it would not surprise me at all.'

Couzens met Elena, his Ukrainian wife in 2006 on the internet, before they met in person and got engaged. 

Nina Sukhoreba, his mother-in-law, said after his arrest: 'He is a wonderful family man, a wonderful man. He is a wonderful father. He came to visit with the children and we all walked to the river and he helped me at home and in the garden.' 

Brother-in-law, Vitaly Obuhov, said 'he is an extremely warm person, very polite and calm'. 

Yet just 39 minutes before his arrest, he wiped all data from his mobile phone and was also spotted by neighbours throwing an SD memory card out of the upstairs window.

This led to more speculation about his obsession with porn.    

Reacting to his arrest, his wife Elena said: 'When the police arrived at the house, I was in shock. At first I thought it was a prank. I thought these are his friends playing a joke.

'Even an hour into the police search, I remember thinking this is a bit much for a prank but that's when I started asking questions.

'The children were here but luckily the police were very professional and the kids didn't have a clue about what was going on. They were just taken away.'

Elena, a forensic scientist, moved out of the family home with her daughter, 11, and nine-year-old son in March when it became the centre of the murder investigation.

They have now moved back in and she said that she has briefed the children on what has happened to their father as best she can.

She said: 'The children know about what happened now but they heard it from me. I wanted them to hear it from me and I think I did a good job, they've accepted what's happened as best as anyone could. 

'We are a safe triangle, I protect them, trust them. We have fun together. Their life goes on, as far as I'm concerned. They go to school and the school has been very supportive, everyone has been very supportive, especially the other school mums.' 

Ukrainian-born Elena has also gone back to work as a laboratory manager.

She has contacted the devastated family of Ms Everard through intermediaries at the Metropolitan Police and added: 'I had a conversation with the officers asking them to pass on my condolences. I am sorry that this happened, what happened to Sarah should not happen to any woman but her family are grieving.

'The feelings I'm going through, they are going through much worse. It is horrendous.

'As a parent, I have my own two children. I do not want anything like that to happen to them. I cannot imagine the heartache that Sarah's parents are going through.

'If I had the power to bring anyone back from the dead, Sarah would be the first person that I would choose. I wish I could rewind the last three months and stop this from happening.'  

EXCLUSIVE - 'I keep on asking "why?"': Wife of killer cop Wayne Couzens reveals how she is haunted by failing to spot 'any signs' he was capable of such barbaric crimes - as he admits to murdering Sarah Everard EXCLUSIVE: Wayne Couzens' 38-year-old wife Elena says she is still picking up the pieces of her shattered life Killer's wife of 15 years told MailOnline: ''I keep on asking "why?" What Wayne did wasn’t human behaviour' Opening up for first time, the mother-of-two reveals how she had to break the news to the couple's children Couzens today pleaded guilty to murdering Sarah Everard - after previously admitting to her kidnap and rape 

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The wife of Wayne Couzens has told of her horror at the police officer's sickening crimes and her distress at failing to spot any warning signs in the months before Sarah Everard's kidnap and murder.

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, Elena Couzens, 38, said: 'I keep on asking "why?" What Wayne did wasn’t human behaviour.’

As Couzens today pleaded guilty to snatching Ms Everard, 33, off the street and then raping her, his wife of 15 years says she is still picking up the pieces of her shattered life and rebuilding it together with the couple's two young children.

'If I had any idea what was going on in Wayne’s head, then none of this would’ve happened but I didn’t know anything,' she said.

‘He didn't appear to be acting strangely. I didn't notice anything was wrong. I’m working full time, most of the time I‘m dropping the children off at school and picking them up, I have a really busy lifestyle.

‘I can't comprehend it because he never once previously showed any glimpse of violence, he was never that way. I’m just as puzzled as everyone else.

'I saw nothing wrong. He had a beautiful family, a good house… what else did he need? I’m constantly asking myself “where I did miss the signs?” How on earth could this have happened?'

In an exclusive interview, Elena recalls the moment armed police raided their modest two-bedroom semi-detached home in Deal, Kent, and arrested her husband of 15 years, assuming it was his colleagues playing a prank. It wasn't until police were still rifling through their things an hour later that she realised it was serious.

Opening up for the first time, the mother-of-two reveals how she had to break the news to the couple's children - a daughter, 11, and son, nine - that their father had been arrested after they were moved into a temporary house. She also reached out the family of Ms Everard and said she cannot imagine what her parents are going through.

As Wayne Couzens today pleaded guilty to snatching Sarah Everard, 33, off the street and then raping her, his wife of 15 years, Elena (pictured together), 38, says she is still picking up the pieces of her shattered life

As Wayne Couzens today pleaded guilty to snatching Sarah Everard, 33, off the street and then raping her, his wife of 15 years, Elena (pictured together), 38, says she is still picking up the pieces of her shattered life

In an exclusive interview, Elena recalls the moment armed police raided their modest two-bedroom semi-detached home in Deal, Kent, and arrested her husband of 15 years, assuming it was his colleagues playing a prank

In an exclusive interview, Elena recalls the moment armed police raided their modest two-bedroom semi-detached home in Deal, Kent, and arrested her husband of 15 years, assuming it was his colleagues playing a prank

Ms Couzens pictured outside her home in Kent in March this year

She said: ‘He didn't appear to be acting strangely. I didn't notice anything was wrong'

‘He didn't appear to be acting strangely. I didn't notice anything was wrong. I’m working full time, most of the time I‘m dropping the children off at school and picking them up, I have a really busy lifestyle', said Ms Couzens (pictured outside her home in Kent in March this year)

Ms Everard had spent the evening at a friend’s house on March 3 when she started to walk from Clapham to her home in Brixton

Ms Everard had spent the evening at a friend’s house on March 3 when she started to walk from Clapham to her home in Brixton

Still seeking answers herself, Elena says: ‘The only thing I can think of is manic depression. I know he suffered from depression, but it was always such a subtle thing, you couldn’t always tell what it was.

‘He’d be up and down. Sometimes he’d feel really happy and energised and he’d start doing things around the house. But I cannot explain why he did this.'

Elena spoke before Couzens appeared at the Old Bailey this morning where he admitted Ms Everard’s murder. He will be sentenced on September 29.

Ms Everard had spent the evening at a friend’s house on March 3 when she started to walk from Clapham to her home in Brixton.

She had phoned her boyfriend, Josh Lowth, for 15-minutes shortly before being snatched off the street, killed and her body dumped in woodland near Ashford in Kent.

Couzens, who worked for the Met’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection unit, guarding embassies in the capital, was arrested at his home in nearby Deal, Kent, on March 9.

Elena said: ‘When the police arrived at the house, I was in shock. At first I thought it was a prank. I thought these are his friends playing a joke.

‘Even an hour into the police search, I remember thinking this is a bit much for a prank but that’s when I started asking questions.

Elena (pictured in March this year) spoke before Couzens appeared at the Old Bailey this morning where he admitted Ms Everard’s murder. He will be sentenced on September 29

Elena (pictured in March this year) spoke before Couzens appeared at the Old Bailey this morning where he admitted Ms Everard’s murder. He will be sentenced on September 29

Serving Met Police officer Couzens (above) from Deal, Kent, had been charged with the kidnap and murder of Ms Everard

Serving Met Police officer Couzens (above) from Deal, Kent, had been charged with the kidnap and murder of Ms Everard

Wayne Couzens seen in a court sketch during a previous hearing relating to the case. His wife moved out of the family home with her daughter, 11, and nine-year-old son in March

Wayne Couzens seen in a court sketch during a previous hearing relating to the case. His wife moved out of the family home with her daughter, 11, and nine-year-old son in March

A number of areas were searched in Clapham as police tried to look for missing Sarah before they turned the hunt to Kent

A number of areas were searched in Clapham as police tried to look for missing Sarah before they turned the hunt to Kent

‘The children were here but luckily the police were very professional and the kids didn’t have a clue about what was going on. They were just taken away.’

Elena, a forensic scientist, moved out of the family home with her daughter, 11, and nine-year-old son in March when it became the centre of the murder investigation.

They have now moved back in and she said that she has briefed the children on what has happened to their father as best she can.

She said: ‘The children know about what happened now but they heard it from me. I wanted them to hear it from me and I think I did a good job, they’ve accepted what’s happened as best as anyone could. 

‘We are a safe triangle, I protect them, trust them. We have fun together. Their life goes on, as far as I’m concerned. They go to school and the school has been very supportive, everyone has been very supportive, especially the other school mums.’ 

Sarah's family leave the Old Bailey after a previous hearing where Couzens made two guilty pleas. Her father Jeremy is seen on the left, with her sister Katie who can be seen on the right

Sarah's family leave the Old Bailey after a previous hearing where Couzens made two guilty pleas. Her father Jeremy is seen on the left, with her sister Katie who can be seen on the right

CCTV footage of Sarah Everard captured earlier on the night she was kidnapped in south London in March this year

CCTV footage of Sarah Everard captured earlier on the night she was kidnapped in south London in March this year

Ukrainian-born Elena has also gone back to work as a laboratory manager.

She has contacted the devastated family of Ms Everard through intermediaries at the Metropolitan Police and added: ‘I had a conversation with the officers asking them to pass on my condolences. I am sorry that this happened, what happened to Sarah should not happen to any woman but her family are grieving.

‘The feelings I’m going through, they are going through much worse. It is horrendous.

‘As a parent, I have my own two children. I do not want anything like that to happen to them. I cannot imagine the heartache that Sarah’s parents are going through.

‘If I had the power to bring anyone back from the dead, Sarah would be the first person that I would choose. I wish I could rewind the last three months and stop this from happening.'

How was he still on the force? Killer cop Wayne Couzens was caught flashing six years ago and four days BEFORE he snatched Sarah Everard - as 12 cops face 'gross misconduct' probe over her murder

By Dan Sales for MailOnline

Sarah Everard's murderer and rapist PC Wayne Couzens, 48, is being investigated over more unsolved sex crimes as it emerged today he could have been caught six years ago when police failed to probe a flashing complaint against him - with 12 officers now under standards watchdog scrutiny.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct revealed the allegation as it confirmed Couzens was suspected of two other indecent exposures feared not to have been properly probed by the Met force days before he killed Sarah.

As Dame Cressida Dick apologised after the murderer's guilty plea at court this morning, her force refused to comment on what other crimes he may now been linked to.

But the IOPC laid bare a series of worrying incidents and said it had served 12 officers from several forces with gross misconduct or misconduct notices with multiple investigations ongoing.

One gross misconduct notice and six misconduct notices relate to a probe into allegations officers from 'a number of forces' breached standards of professional behaviour by sharing information linked to the prosecution of Couzens via a messaging app.

Gross misconduct notices have been served to three officers over an investigation into a probationary Met Police constable who allegedly shared an inappropriate graphic relating to the Sarah Everard case with officers over social media before subsequently manning the cordon at the scene of the search for her.

A probe into the Metropolitan Police's alleged failure to investigate allegations of indecent exposure linked to Couzens in February 2021 continues with two officers being investigated for possible breaches of professional standards that may amount to misconduct.

A separate investigation is also ongoing into claims Kent Police failed to investigate an incident of indecent exposure in 2015, but no notices have been served by the IOPC to officers over this.

An investigation into how Wayne Couzens sustained head injuries while in custody on both March 10 and March 12 following his arrest has almost concluded, the IOPC said, with all officers involved treated as witnesses. 

Kent Assistant

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