What Happened to Sarah Everard? The London Woman Whose Death Prompted a Safety Debate in the U.K.

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The incident of kidnapping on the streets of the British capital is reminiscent of the #MeToo movement.

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Who was Sarah Everard and what happened to her?

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Marketing executive Sarah Everard, 33, left a friend’s house in London’s Clapham neighborhood at 9 p.m. on March 3 to return to her apartment in nearby Brixton. It should have taken him 50 minutes to walk. She chose well-lit roads and talked to her boyfriend on the phone. He did many of the things he advised women to do to improve their security, yet he didn’t make it home.

Who killed him.

A 48-year-old police officer named Wayne Couzens pleaded guilty to her murder and on 30 September she was sentenced to spend the rest of her life in prison, the most severe punishment available under English law. The judge in the case called the officer’s actions bizarre and said they could undermine public confidence in the police. Prior to joining the force, Mr. Couzens worked as a mechanic with his family’s auto-repair business and his duties with the London Metropolitan Police included guarding foreign embassies, for which he was issued a gun. Was.

how did she die?
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After an extensive search, human remains found in a wooded area in Kent, south-east of the capital, were confirmed to Ms Everard on 12 March. Police said on June 1 that the postmortem revealed that he died due to neck pressing.

What are the protests about?

Women across Britain were outraged by the kidnapping and murder of Ms. Everard. Many shared their experiences of harassment on the roads or public transport and demanded more protection. Others shared tips about how women can protect themselves, such as tying keys between their knuckles or using their smartphone as an alarm. Much of the conversation revolves around what men can do to make women feel more comfortable, such as going on the opposite side of the street if they find themselves following a woman at night. Several vigils were also organized for Ms. Everard for the evening of March 13.

Why is the police facing criticism?

London police warned against surveillance at Clapham Common, a park where Ms Everard was last seen, as it would have violated COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings. Organizers of a group called Reclaim in the Streets called it off, but another group proceeded with a vigil, which was later broken up by the police. Officers were filmed detaining and handcuffing several women, prompting a flurry of criticism for their methods, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also expressed concern over this. The next day, hundreds of protesters gathered outside London Police Headquarters in New Scotland Yard before proceeding to another rally outside Parliament. London Police Commissioner Cressida Dick defended the policing of the Clapham Common Vigil and said she would not resign over the matter.

How is the government reacting?

The Home Office, which oversees the policing, said it would conduct an independent investigation into the police action. The government is also facing criticism for pushing plans for a new law that would give police broader powers to crack down on protesters. Human rights groups have criticized the provisions they describe as harsh, including up to 10 years in prison for protesters convicted of causing “serious annoyance”. The opposition Labor Party has said it will vote against the bill. Prime Minister Mr Johnson has also promised more legislation to build on preliminary measures to improve lighting and surveillance.

write to James Hookway at [email protected]

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