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We’re still prisoners of our own gender… that must change

We’re still prisoners of our own gender… that must change

 SARAH EVERARD could have been your best friend.

She could have been your daughter, your sister, or your neighbour.

🔵 Follow our live blog for the latest Sarah Everard news and developments

Sarah's tragic wasteful death at the age of just 33 united the nation in grief
Sarah's tragic wasteful death at the age of just 33 united the nation in griefCredit: AFP

Sarah was Everywoman.

Her tragic, wasteful death at the age of just 33 united the nation in grief.

In the days and weeks after her killing, at the hands of evil Wayne Couzens, women everywhere came out to share their own stories of male violence.

That Sarah could have been murdered by a serving policeman made it all the more shocking.

The unthinkable happened.

If, as women, we can’t be kept safe by an officer of the law, then who can — and will — protect us?

To now discover that his bosses missed the chance to stop him makes this tragedy all the more shocking.

Sarah’s death triggered a reaction like no other in recent media, and social media, history.

From women, there was an outpouring of anger.

candlelit vigil for Sarah on London’s Clapham Common led to clashes with police, who were accused of manhandling female attendees.

Thousands of women marched on Parliament Square in protest.

A placard held by one protester summed up the horror of Sarah’s story: “She was just walking home”.

In the days after her death, story after story emerged, detailing how so many women feel unsafe on our streets.

Millions of us, old or young, have been followed home, stared at uncomfortably on public transport, or leered at without invitation.

Anecdotally, I don’t know anyone of my generation who doesn’t have a horror story of some kind or who hasn’t felt unsafe in her neighbourhood.

Sarah’s killing was the straw that broke the camel’s back.


Collectively, women have had enough.

And many men have too, voicing their disgust at the harassment women suffer and asking what they could do to help us feel more secure.

Wayne Couzens is a blight on mankind.

Sarah lived in Brixton Hill, a district of South London.

Haunting final CCTV images from March 3 show her happily chatting on her mobile, dutifully wearing her mask like we’ve all been doing in lockdown.

Despite the mask, you can see she is smiling.

Her last credit card purchase was a bottle of wine from Sainsbury’s.

Her final everyday moments were so touchingly human.

Thank God Couzens pleaded guilty yesterday.

At least, by admitting his guilt, he has spared Sarah’s grieving loved ones the horror of a cross-examination, of making them re-live in gruesome detail her last moments.

Although this is unlikely to provide much consolation.

Scotland Yard’s lead investigator yesterday apologised to the court after a press release got issued by the Met, revealing that the marketing executive had been brutally strangled.

Members of the public gather at a candlelit vigil for Sarah at the bandstand on Clapham Common in London
Members of the public gather at a candlelit vigil for Sarah at the bandstand on Clapham Common in LondonCredit: Jeff Moore

Metropolitan police chief Cressida Dick was in court to oversee her unit’s failings.

Afterwards, she publicly apologised to the family, speaking of her “profound anger and regret at what happened”.

And so she should.

England’s police watchdog is probing claims that Kent Police failed to investigate an incident of indecent exposure from disgraced Couzens in 2015.

A separate investigation is also under way into how he was suspected of flashing two female members of staff at a McDonald’s drive-thru in Swanley, Kent, just three days before abducting, raping and murdering Sarah.

Despite CCTV identifying his car, he was not arrested for the alleged offence until it was too late.

He continued to work for the force and carry a firearm.

Talk about protecting your own.

Although he’s confessed, 48-year-old Couzens — a diplomatic protection officer — has refused to explain why he carried out his crimes, offering “no comment” replies in every police interview.


He remains unrepentant.

This from a man who downloaded extreme pornography, regularly cavorted with prostitutes — he initially tried to pin her killing on Eastern European gangsters — and who had previously auditioned to appear in a violent film.

How did none of his colleagues, men and women actively trained to spot a deviant, fail to see his dark side?

Or did they recognise the degenerate hiding in plain sight, and choose to turn a blind eye?

Cressida Dick has previously, and brazenly, defied pressure to resign, slamming “armchair” critics over officers’ manhandling of women at Sarah’s vigil.

Who knows how much longer she can cling on to power.

Because the impact of Sarah’s death will be felt for a long time to come.

One of those who paid tribute at the vigil site was the Duchess of Cambridge, whose decision to lay flowers — one she made privately, out of “royal hours” — exemplified just how far-reaching her death was.

In the weeks after Sarah’s death, a movement called Reclaim These Streets was set up, calling for the Government to do more to protect women’s safety.

Alas, I’m not convinced even the members themselves think anything will changeMore needs to be done to make half the population feel it’s OK to set foot outside once the sun has set.

In winter, many refuse to leave home after 3.30pm.

For too long we have been prisoners of our own gender.

PC Wayne Couzens admits murdering Sarah Everard after kidnapping and raping her as she walked home

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