Wayne Cougens has been punished for exposing himself to a female cyclist while on duty

Wayne Cougens has been punished for exposing himself to a female cyclist while on duty

Wayne Cougen is serving a life sentence for murdering Sarah Everard – Metropolitan Police/AFP via Getty Images

Wayne Cougens exposed himself to a female cyclist while he was on duty and supposed to work from home months before Sara Everard was kidnapped, raped and murdered, it has emerged.

The incident, which took place in November 2020, took place in an isolated part of rural Kent from where he took Miss Everard after she was abducted from south London on 3 March 2021.

Couzens, who was a member of Scotland Yard’s Armed Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Unit, was due to work at home in Deal, Kent, on 13 November 2020.

But that afternoon, when he was supposed to be on duty, he drove down Ringwold Road, an isolated rural lane between Deal and Dover, where he exposed himself to a lone female cyclist.

Details of the incident emerged as Coozen appeared at the Old Bailey via videolink for a sentencing hearing after pleading guilty to three offenses of indecent exposure.

The other offenses took place at a McDonald’s drive-thru restaurant in Swanley, Kent, days before Miss Everard was abducted.

Mrs Justice May jailed Couzen for 19 months for the indecent exposure in rural Kent and six months each for the offenses at McDonald’s. The sentences are to be served concurrently, meaning the total sentence is one of 19 months.

Sarah Everard Wayne Couzens - Family Handout/CPS/PA Wire

Sarah Everard Wayne Couzens – Family Handout/CPS/PA Wire

Setting out the details of the first offence, Tom Little Casey said: “On the afternoon of November 13 [complainant 1] was cycling along Ringwold Road. It is an isolated narrow country lane in Kent. It runs almost parallel to the Kent coast between Deal and Dover for about two miles inland.

“It was only a few miles to where the defendant picked up Sarah Everard, abducted her and drove her from car to car in Dover.

“For example [complainant 1] Ringwold was cycling on an uphill section of the road when the defendant came out of the woodland and stood on an embankment above him as he approached him.”

He added: “The accused was completely naked. He was masturbating his exposed cock and did so while she was watching [complainant 1].

“He felt he had no choice but to cycle past him due to the layout of the road. No words were exchanged between them. He had a clear view of her and clearly remembered what she looked like.

A little further down the road, the victim passed a black car parked in an unusual spot and he remembered part of the number plate, Mr Little said.

The victim then met two women who she told about the incident and one of them said she was a police officer who she said she would take a look at.

The victim reported the incident to Kent Police online, providing details of the accused and partial registration of the car, but Mr Little said the force could not proceed with the investigation without the full number plate.

‘instant shock’

The court heard that on 11 March 2021, following the arrest of the Couzens for Miss Everard’s abduction and murder, the victim’s husband showed her a photograph of the defendant.

Mr Little said: “She felt an immediate shock when she saw the picture and said she was 90 per cent sure it was him masturbating in front of her. She later attended an identification procedure and identified the defendant as the person who exposed himself to her.”

The barrister went on: “Further inquiries confirmed that the defendant was scheduled to work from home (Dilley) between 8am and 4pm on 13 November 2020. It follows that he was on duty at the time of the offence.”

Mr Little said cell site analysis of Couzens’ mobile phone showed he had spent about an hour and a half in the same location on the morning of November 13 “while theoretically working from home again”.

Exposure at fast food drive-thru

Other offenses to which Coozen pleaded guilty took place at a McDonald’s drive-thru in Swanley in February 2021.

The court heard that on February 14, he was on a day off, but at around 8.20pm Deal left his home and traveled to London where he briefly visited his Metropolitan Police base in Lily Road.

Mr Little said: “He was not on duty that evening and his visit on Valentine’s Day remains completely unexplained. However, his journey is not unlike the night Sarah kidnapped Everard.

At about 11.41 p.m., he went to McDonald’s restaurant where he ordered a white coffee and a double cheeseburger.

As he drove up to the payment window, staff members saw him pull his penis up above the waistband of his shorts.

Another member of staff who gave him his order also saw him exposing himself.

Two members of staff reported the incident to their manager, who took credit card receipt details but did not report the matter to the police at that stage.

On February 27, Couzens was working a one-day shift in London and left for home after finishing at 7 p.m.

Around 8.30pm, he stopped again at McDonald’s where he ordered a coffee, an orange juice, two double cheeseburgers and medium fries.

When he approached the window of his car to collect the order, the female member of staff noticed that he was naked from the waist down and his erect penis was exposed.

The victim immediately reported the matter to his manager who recorded the car’s registration and contacted the police.

Mr Little said: “A telephone call was made to the police the following afternoon. During that call, police were told the vehicle’s details and the last four digits of the MasterCard matched the incident two weeks earlier.

“However, the defendant was not spoken to prior to the events of 3 March 2021.”

The incident left a ‘black mark’

In a victim impact statement, Kent, who complained about the crime, said the incident had left a “dark stain” on his life and that he had been diagnosed with PTSD ever since.

The victim added: “I’m aware that indecent exposure is seen by some as a minor offence. But research shows that this is a progressive form of behavior. I was clearly concerned that someone could do something more serious than expose themselves in such a frightening way to a stranger.

“This is it. Four months after you revealed yourself to me, you raped and murdered an innocent woman.

“There were opportunities to identify you and they were not taken. I did not feel that, when I reported your crime, it was taken as seriously as I felt it should have been. The horror of what happened will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

He added: “Currently our society, and some police forces, in my experience, do not take this crime as seriously as it should. When you should be acting professionally and protecting the public, you are indulging yourself and abusing your position.

“Your conduct, and the subsequent failure of Kent Police, has seriously undermined my confidence in the police generally.”

In her witness impact statement, the second woman said: “My view of the police has changed significantly. Before, I didn’t have a strong opinion of the police because I was lucky enough not to need them.

“However, now that I know that the police have a duty of care, my trust in the police to treat me well has diminished. I don’t like to tar everyone with the same brush, but after knowing what he did for a living and seeing him in uniform and knowing what he’s capable of, it was hard not to.”

Trust in the police has broken

A third victim, who tearfully read her impact statement in court, also said her faith in the police had been shattered.

He said: “After all this time, I have seen more and more officers involved in illegal activities. We are supposed to believe those. I haven’t had much dealings with the police before. After learning what Wayne Couzens did for a living, it’s caused me to be more careful about taking things like those beliefs at face value.

“It made me realize that police officers are normal people, some of whom may be a threat rather than trying to protect me.

“This incident of indecent exposure was reported on Sunday. I asked someone to contact me or make a statement. I got involved right after Sarah was killed. If he had been held accountable while we reported the crime, we could have saved Sarah.

Kuzen pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent exposure, with other charges remaining on file.

During the sentencing hearing before Mrs Justice May, Coozen appeared from HMP Frankland, where he is serving a full life sentence for the abduction, murder and rape of Miss Everard.

Members of Ms Everard’s family were also watching the sentencing hearing via video link.

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