Sarah Everard Didn’t Have To Die

Elaine Gilmartin
3 min readMar 10, 2023

Killers aren’t Born; They Evolve

by Elaine Gilmartin

Richard McCall

On March 6, 2023, Wayne Couzens, former London Metropolitan police officer and murderer of Sarah Everard, was sentenced to an additional nineteen months in prison on top of his whole life sentence for three instances of indecent exposure. Had police followed through on these reports at the time, Sarah Everard likely would be alive today.

In a London courthouse, the judge praised the victims “courage and resilience.” These women who experienced the indecent exposure, two different occasions for female employees at a McDonald’s drive through, the other on a cyclist path, did everything right. They reported it in an effort to keep other women safe. The police had these reports, two of which were caught on camera with Couzens not only visible, but was further identified by his vehicle and license. And yet, no consequences.

So on that horrific day in 2021 when Couzens, who worked a COVID patrol encountered Sarah Everard walking home, was able to handcuff and abduct her, going on to rape, murder her and dismember her body. All because he was a police officer, an authority figure imbued with public trust.

Bell Riberio-Addy, Labour’s MP stated, “Multiple women reported Sarah Everard’s killer for indecent exposure. The police’s failure to listen and act left him free to kill…The culture of impunity towards officers must end.”

Mrs. Justice May, the judge who sentenced Couzens on these charges March 6th, said “The police’s failure to investigate the victims’ reports of indecent exposure may have emboldened Couzens to carry out the murder,” as the third incident occurred just four days before Sarah’s bright life was extinguished.

Men with Couzens’ pathology do not go from choir boy to crazed killer. There is a building escalation over time in which they discover how far they can push the boundaries, how far they can go before being stopped. Men like Couzens are cowards who victimize women and lack empathy. They only respond to consequences.

A similar trajectory was seen in Paul Bernardo, a Canadian serial rapist and killer of young women. Unique to his situation, he partnered with his wife, Karla Homolka. She was abused by him during their marriage…

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Elaine Gilmartin

A therapist by profession, a runner by passion, a writer by necessity.