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Sarah Everard inquest will open today

Sarah Everard, 33, went missing on March 3 after leaving a friend’s house in Clapham, sparking a week-long search that ended when her body was found in woodland near Ashford

The inquest into the death of Sarah Everard will open today after a second post-mortem examination to establish how she was killed was ordered yesterday because the first proved inconclusive.

A coroner will begin proceedings in Maidstone, Kent, as police continue their investigations into what happened to the 33-year-old.

Met policeman Wayne Couzens, 38, has been charged with the murder and kidnap of the marketing manager.

It comes after a second post-mortem examination was carried out on Sarah Everard’s body yesterday afternoon after the first proved inconclusive, police said, as officers continued to focus their searches in Sandwich.

Miss Everard went missing on March 3 while walking home after visiting a friend in south London. Her body was found in woodland near Ashford in Kent a week later, and serving police officer Couzens, 48, from Deal, also in Kent, has been charged with her murder.

The inquest opening is due to take place at County Hall, Maidstone, at 9.30am this morning.

Yesterday scene of crime officers took away bags of items – including scissors and what appeared to be a long tool handle – from areas in Kent where they were investigating the murder. 

The forensic experts, dressed in blue protective suits, could be seen walking away from the four sites of interest in Sandwich near Dover with the plastic bags.

One had a pair of bandage cutting scissors inside while others contained a black item in a smaller zip lock pouch.

What appeared to be the handle to some kind of tool was put into a transparent protective tubing to take away for analysis. Earlier police investigating the murder had cordoned off an abandoned builders’ yard in Kent.

Office had taped up the area in Sandwich, which contains a concrete mixing machine, a skip as well as a green lorry box. 

The wasteland was not far from the the areas they have been already searching for any evidence, including Miss Everard’s missing phone. 

The bag containing various items were taken away from the scene in Sandwich, Kent, this afternoon as the probe continued

An item believed to be some kind of handle was taken away

A plastic zip lock housing the black item found

There were two items taken away by forensic experts which appeared to be of interest to the scene investigators

Police have refused to confirm if the site is of interest but is being guarded by officers investigating and searching Sandwich

Police have refused to confirm if the site is of interest but is being guarded by officers investigating and searching Sandwich

The hunt for evidence in Sandwich, Kent, has entered a third day with a builders' yard now taped off by police

The hunt for evidence in Sandwich, Kent, has entered a third day with a builders’ yard now taped off by police

It came as divers renewed their underwater hunt as the search of the 300-metre Delf Stream continued for a third day.

Officers had focused on a 50-metre portion of the waters near to the town’s Ropewalk area.

Forensic officers have been concentrating on a specific area in the tourist spot for three days, meticulously rooting through bins, lifting stones and drains for the investigation.

Monday saw them take away a gold necklace discovered on top of a parking ticket machine on the first day of their search.

Then yesterday they delved into the network of drains systems snaking underneath the 4,500-population Medieval town. 

But the stream has been of constant interest, with neighbouring Devon and Cornwall Police even providing divers to bolster numbers at one point.  

The home of Wayne Couzens, 48, is being guarded by police after they had finished searching the building and garden

The home of Wayne Couzens, 48, is being guarded by police after they had finished searching the building and garden

Diplomatic Protection Officer Wayne Couzens, 48, has been charged with the murder and kidnap of Miss Everard, 33

Artist's drawing of Wayne Couzens appearing at Westminster Magistrates Court on Saturday for his first appearance in court

Diplomatic Protection Officer Wayne Couzens, 48, has been charged with the murder and kidnap of Miss Everard, 33

Divers are in Delf Stream this morning for a third day as they continue their hunt for evidence including Miss Everard's phone

Divers are in Delf Stream this morning for a third day as they continue their hunt for evidence including Miss Everard’s phone

Undergrowth was previously carefully combed through by officers as they looked for anything that could be significant

Undergrowth was previously carefully combed through by officers as they looked for anything that could be significant

Police on Tuesday switched attention to the network of drains underneath Sandwich, Kent, in the second day of searches

Police on Tuesday switched attention to the network of drains underneath Sandwich, Kent, in the second day of searches

Miss Everard’s inquest will open tomorrow in Kent and but a first post mortem into her cause of death was inconclusive.

Sandwich is some 35 miles away from where Sarah’s remains were found last Wednesday in woodland in Ashford, Kent.

The Old Bailey heard yesterday Couzens had finished work in London at least nine hours before she went missing.

Details on the Diplomatic Protection Officer and his shift pattern were disclosed at his first crown court appearance on Tuesday morning.

Couzens, who had a large injury on his head and black left eye, appeared to rock to and fro during the hearing. 

It was told he faced a trial of up to four weeks, which has been pencilled in for the start of October. 

The Met Police revealed that Couzens joined the force two years ago in September 2018 when he worked for a response team covering the Bromley area.

He then moved to the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command in February last year. 

The vigil at Clapham Common on Saturday night saw police clash with attendees and scenes were officers restrained women

The vigil at Clapham Common on Saturday night saw police clash with attendees and scenes were officers restrained women

The searches have come as Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick remains at the centre of a political storm after a vigil held to remember Sarah on Clapham Common on Saturday night saw scenes of police restraining and arresting women.

Boris Johnson on Monday threw his support behind her when he was asked if he still had full confidence in her.

He said: Yes, I do. The police do have a very, very difficult job. But there’s no question that the scenes that we saw were very distressing and so it is right that Tom Winsor, the inspector of constabulary, should do a full report into it.’

Home Secretary Priti Patel described footage of the vigil as ‘distressing’ but she added: ‘I continue to urge everyone, for as long as these regulations are in place, not to participate in large gatherings or attend protests.

‘The right to protest is the cornerstone of our democracy but the government’s duty is to prevent more lives being lost during this pandemic.’

A snap poll showed the public was divided on whether the vigil should have gone ahead.

The YouGov survey showed 40 per cent of Britons argue the event should have been permitted, while 43 per cent said it should not have continued.

There was also a slight gender divide, with 42 per cent of women backing the vigil, compared to just 38 per cent of men.

The disappearance of Sarah Everard and the arrest of armed policeman Wayne Couzens

March 3: Sarah disappeared after leaving friend’s home Clapham around 9pm. She leaves out of her friend’s back gate and speaks to her boyfriend on the phone for 15 minutes.  

March 5: Sarah’s family share missing posters of her after they become increasingly concerned that she is still not home, spreading the word online with links to the Missing People charity.

March 6: Met Police release an appeal, saying Sarah was thought to have walked through Clapham Common, heading towards Brixton home, a journey of 50 minutes. They say they are not certain she ever arrived home.

March 7: Police release footage of Ms Everard and say she was walking alone on A205 Poynders Road towards Tulse Hill when she was last seen on CCTV, which has not been released to the police.

March 8: Specialist officers are drafted and 120 calls from public come in. A door-to-door operation sees police speak to 750 families.

March 9: Police search gardens near Ms Everard’s route and nearby Oaklands Estate.

Officers also search a pond in Clapham Common and drains along the A205.

Cordon around the Poynders Court housing complex on Poynders Road, forensics officers on scene.

11.59pm: Met police officer Wayne Couzens arrested in Kent on suspicion of kidnap. A woman in her 30s is arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.

Neighbours say they spotted a Land Rover containing two men watching the property for two hours before around 20 officers raided the house. 

March 10: Specialist police search team arrives in Kent. They search Couzens’ home and garden as well as nearby Betteshanger Park which is around two-and-a-half- miles from the house as well as an abandoned leisure complex in Great Chart near Ashford. 

8pm: Dame Cressida Dick confirms human remains were found in woodland in Ashford, Kent in the search for Sarah.  She was unable to confirm whether the remains belonged to the missing woman. 

March 11:  10am: Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was ‘shocked and deeply saddened by the developments in the Sarah Everard investigation’, adding ‘we must work fast to find all the answers to this horrifying crime’.

Home Secretary Priti Patel added: ‘Every woman should feel safe to walk on our streets without fear of harassment or violence. At this deeply sad and tragic time as we think and pray for Sarah and her family’. 

4pm: Police later confirm the suspect was treated in hospital for a head injury sustained while in custody, before being returned to a police station.

Ms Everard’s family release a statement paying tribute to her as a ‘shining example to us all’, adding that she ‘brought so much joy to our lives’.

The Met reveals an extension to the suspect’s detention was granted by a magistrates’ court, while the woman arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender is released on bail to return to a police station on a date in mid-April. 

6pm: Organisers of a vigil for Ms Everard say they are seeking legal action against the Met after claiming the force reversed its position on allowing the event planned for March 13 to go ahead.

March 12: Searches ramp up in the tunnels carved into the White Cliffs of Dover that run around and below Couzens’ former family garage. 

Teams remain at Couzens’ home in Deal and in woodland near Ashford where human remains were found. 

2pm: Scotland Yard confirms the body found in Kent woodland is Sarah. Her family have been informed.

9pm: Wayne Couzens is charged with the murder and kidnapping of Miss Everard.

March 13: Wayne Couzens, 48, appears at Westminster Magistrates Court for his first appearanceand is remanded in custody.

A vigil in memory of Miss Everard is held on Clapham Common sparking scenes that show police officers restraining women.  

March 14:  A political storm starts brewing over the policing of the vigil in south west London, with some calling for the resignation of Metropolitan Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick

March 15: Dame Cressida says she will not resign and is even more determined to lead the force. Police crews arrive in Sandwich, Kent, and begin searching for evidence, including in the river.

March 16: Wayne Couzens, 48, makes his first appearance at the Old Bailey in London over the kidnap and murder of Miss Everard. He is told he could face a four-week trial in October.

March 17: Searches in Delf Stream in Sandwich, Kent, continue for a third day as police divers scour the water for evidence including Miss Everard’s phone, which is still missing. 

March 18: The inquest into Sarah’s death begins at County Hall, Maidstone 


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