Sarah Everard: the ex-prosecutor will lead an investigation for rape and murder committed by a police officer | Sarah everard

The Home Office’s investigation into the rape and murder of Sarah Everard by a police officer will be chaired by Dame Elish Angiolini, formerly Scotland’s top prosecutor, the department said.

He will consider whether the chances of identifying his murderer, Wayne Couzens, as a danger to women before he attacks Everard in March 2021 have been missed.

Angiolini has been chosen as chairman of the inquiry, which will be in two parts, after consultation with Sarah Everard’s family.

The issues at stake will be familiar to Angiolini. In 2015, she chaired a rape review for the Met, after being appointed by then commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe. She led a government review of deaths in custody, published in 2017. She also recently led a review of the handling of police complaints, investigations and misconduct in Scotland, published in November 2020.

Interior Minister Priti Patel said: “The Angiolini investigation will shed light on the failings that allowed a serving policeman to abuse his power so horribly and make recommendations for changes to the government. within the police.

Angiolini described it as “a pivotal moment in the maintenance of order”.

Past allegations of sexual misconduct by Couzens dating back to 2015, which were allegedly missed by police, are under investigation, as are police screening procedures. The results of the investigations carried out by two police watchdogs will be sent to the journal Angiolini.

Couzens has been imprisoned for life. The officer abused her position and equipment to trap Everard in a car as she made her way home to south London during the lockdown.

The Minister of the Interior had announced that an investigation would be opened last month after Couzens’ conviction. The Met has also set up its own investigation, chaired by Louise Casey.

The Interior Ministry has refused to give in to calls to give its investigation full powers, so it will be non-statutory. The government claims it will be faster that way, but insists it could be converted into a forensic investigation if necessary.

The first part of the investigation will examine whether the warning signs regarding Couzens were missed and whether the allegations against him were properly addressed. The second part will examine the issues raised by the first part and report to the Minister of the Interior as soon as possible.

Patel, addressing MPs in the Commons, called the case “devastating” and said Angiolini would examine “how this monster could have served as a policeman for so long and seek to establish a definitive account of his conduct. “.

Patel added: “The first part will also seek to understand to what extent his behavior has raised the alarm among his colleagues.”

Patel said it would start off as non-statutory, meaning he cannot coerce witnesses or documents, and people who mislead or lie to him cannot be prosecuted. She said: “Legal investigations can be lengthy, with limited flexibility. Sometimes the recommendations are not made for a number of years.

“However, I will not rule out converting this to a statutory basis, if Dame Elish considers that she is unable to fulfill the terms of reference on a non-statutory basis.”

Couzens, while serving in the Met, used his warrant card and handcuffs to get Everard, 33, into her car as she drove home to south London at the height of lockdown restrictions of Covid in March. The restrictions were his likely pretext to stop him.

Couzens drove her to Kent before strangling her with his police belt and burning her body.

Patel said: “Sarah Everard’s life ended too soon with an evil man whose job it was to protect her. We owe it to her, her loved ones and her family, to prevent something like it won’t happen again. ”

In 2015, during the launch of his rape review for the Met, Angiolini spoke of a “toxic psychology” that led victims of sexual violence to feel guilty or to feel shame.

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