Met cop Wayne Couzens pleads not guilty to four charges of indecent exposure including flashing at McDonald’s drive-thru just 72 hours before he murdered
- Couzens appeared in court charged with four counts of indecent exposure
- He allegedly flashed his genitals between January 22 and February 27 last year
- Couzens is currently serving life sentence for killing of Sarah Everard
Sarah Everard‘s killer Wayne Couzens today pleaded not guilty to four flashing offences where he exposed his genitals at a McDonald’s drive thru – including once just days before he wielded his warrant card to abduct the marketing executive using Covid-19 lockdown laws.
The former police officer 49, is serving a whole-life sentence for the kidnap, rape and murder of 33-year-old Ms Everard in March last year, when he was a serving in the Met.
Four incidents of alleged exposure are said to have taken place earlier that year in Swanley, Kent, at the McDonald’s on the A20.
This morning, Couzens, from Deal in Kent, appeared at the Old Bailey by video link from HMP Frankland prison in Durham.
Wearing a grey sweatshirt, white-bearded Couzens initially spoke to confirm his identity to Judge Mark Lucraft QC.
During the hearing, Couzens, a former armed officer with the Met’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, denied four charges of exposure.
The charges state he allegedly ‘intentionally exposed his genitals intending that someone would see them and be caused alarm and distress’.
The incidents are alleged to have taken place on four occasions in Swanley, Kent, between January 22 and February 1 2021, January 30 and February 6, on February 14 and February 27.
Couzens will now face trial later this year.
A bearded Couzens, wearing a grey jumper, appeared by video-link from HMP Frankland today (left). He then denied repeatedly exposing himself to members of the public in the weeks before Sarah Everard was murdered
Ex-Met Police constable Couzens was handed a whole-life term last year for the rape and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard (pictured) after he abducted her in south London on March 3 2021
Judge Lucraft set a timetable for the case with further hearings due to take place at the Old Bailey over three days from November 1.
Prosecutor Tom Little QC observed: ‘With no allocated trial judge at the moment it is not possible to even provisionally fix a trial date given the circumstances.’
Couzens, a former armed officer with Scotland Yard’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, faces four charges of allegedly ‘intentionally exposed his genitals intending that someone would see them and be caused alarm and distress’
Judge Lucraft confirmed that the moment a decision was made on who would try the case, all parties would be informed and efforts made to set a trial date.
The case had been sent to the Old Bailey last month following a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring had said the case was suitable for trial at the magistrates’ court but Couzens opted for it to be heard at a Crown Court.
The allegations of indecent exposure were made to Scotland Yard on February 28, but no arrests were made.
Scotland Yard previously said the McDonald’s allegations were ‘allocated for investigation’ but ‘by the time of Sarah’s abduction it was not concluded’. It then referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) over how it handled the case.
The watchdog last year launched an investigation into officers for possible misconduct over the failure to identify Couzens.
MailOnline revealed that the IOPC was preparing to publish its findings on whether Scotland Yard could have stopped Couzens before he murdered Miss Everard ‘next month’. A source told the website that just two of the four alleged incidents were referred to the IOPC.
The decision to charge Couzens means that the watchdog’s findings now must be placed on hold until the conclusion of his trial.
The source added: ‘It begs the question: Why did the Metropolitan Police only refer two of the four alleged incidents?’.
Scotland Yard declined to comment when approached for comment.
Couzens showed Miss Everard his warrant card to force her into his car as part of a fake Covid arrest in March 2021. He then used his Met-issued equipment to handcuff her before strangling her with his police belt.