From a volunteer soldier and trusted armed police officer to a murderer, rapist and kidnapper – an outside view of Wayne Couzens’ life gave few clues to the horrors he was capable of.
The serving Metropolitan Police officer has today admitted to the murder of Sarah Everard.
Couzens, formerly of Freemens Way in Deal, kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard in a crime that shocked communities across Kent and prompted waves of protests from women wanting to ‘Reclaim these Streets’ across the country.
His arrest on Tuesday, March 9 led to large-scale searches across Kent including at the home he shared with his wife and children, his family’s former garage premises in Dover, a waterway in Sandwich and the woodland near Ashford where the remains of 33 year-old Miss Everard were found.
Little is known about the former mechanic’s private life where friends and colleagues are remaining tight lipped.
But a court transcript from Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Saturday, March 13 revealed Couzens had claimed at the time of his arrest he regularly met prostitutes at the Grand Burstin Hotel and the Holiday Inn at Folkestone. He claimed his family was being threatened because he had short-changed a sex worker.
A source from Deal described him as “odd” and “not fitting in” socially.
He said: “I went out on a night out and he was just odd. Very odd in his mannerisms, the things he said. He would say shocking things.”
And a neighbour whose identity we are protecting told us: “I didn’t know Wayne Couzens to talk to.
“I had seen him working on motor cycles out the front of his home. I also have served him at a cafe I used to work at.
“He brought his children a couple of times and ordered food. He seemed a very bad tempered person, not very polite. I noticed when I served him.”
Couzens hails from a tight-knit family and went into the family business in 1990 as an apprentice at the garage his father Ray ran, BCB in Centre Road, Dover.
His grandfather Walter had started the business in 1968 and Ray took it over in 1978. When the business closed in 2015 upon Ray’s retirement, Couzens then 42, he told our reporter he himself had worked there for 21 years. He left in 2011 and described it as “a family institution”.
In addition to the garage Couzens was involved at the Territorial Army unit in Dover.
He was pictured in 2002 during a countrywide campaign to recruit more men and women to the corps.
After taking part in a TA weekend in 2002, Couzens, then 29, was quoted as saying: “We came along for the challenge and adventure.
“The TA is a happy compromise between the regular army and a civilian job, and we’re having a fantastic time.”
In 2004, he is reported to have “excelled at a battalion-run driving course”.
He was reported as being a private in the Territorial Army with C Company, 3rd Battalion, Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (Volunteer) and based in Canterbury.
During the driving course, Couzens was tested in all areas of driving for both civilian and military vehicles and passed the course with “flying colours achieving Top Student status”.
It is reported he met his Ukrainian scientist wife Elena in Switzerland where she was working.
The couple married in 2006 and they started a family.
Couzens spent a time volunteering for Kent Police as a Special.
In November 2008 he was pictured in Folkestone wearing the force’s specials uniform conducting a breath test as part of recruitment drive.
He joined the Metropolitan Police force in September 2018 and was initially based in the Bromley area, the Met said.
In February last year he moved to the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command where his primary role was uniformed patrols, mainly at a range of embassies in the capital.
A woman was arrested at the same time as him on the suspicion of assisting the kidnapping of Miss Everard and was bailed. No further action is to be taken against her.
She was reportedly fearful of trolls on social media.
Elena’s mother Nina Sukhoreba, who lives in Kirovograd, Ukraine, slammed social media users after they left horrific messages on her daughter and son-in-law’s Facebook accounts following Wayne’s arrest in the wake of Everard’s disappearance.