Delivering sentence in front of a packed courtroom, Lord Justice Fulford described Everard as an “innocent victim of a grotesque series of crimes committed” and called the case “devastating, tragic and utterly brutal”.
Everard’s parents, Jeremy and Susan, and her sister Katie were at court, as were many of her friends.
During a sentencing hearing on Wednesday, prosecutors said Couzens had used his police ID and handcuffs to trick Everard into getting into his car on the pretext that he had violated Covid-19 regulations. He raped and strangled her later that night, the court heard.
Life imprisonment is mandatory in UK manslaughter cases, but it is generally up to the court to decide the minimum period of time that must be served before the possibility of early release.
Couzens was given a life term, which is very rare and reserved for exceptionally serious crimes. Under this term, there is no minimum time set by the judge, and the defendant is never considered for parole.
According to data from the UK Ministry of Justice, there were only 60 lifetime prisoners in the UK as of June 2021, out of nearly 7,000 prisoners serving life sentences.
Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, disappeared on the night of March 3 after leaving a friend’s house in Clapham, south London. Her remains were found days later in a forest near Ashford, Kent, more than 50 miles from where she was last seen.
This is a story in development, more to follow.