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Monday, October 18, 2021

Sarah Everard killer flashed me in 2008 – and police just laughed, says DJ

The Old Bailey heard how he used his police-issue warrant card and handcuffs to abduct her before burning her body in woodland in Hoads Wood, near Ashford, Kent, and dumping her remains in a nearby pond. 

Describing the 2008 incident, Mrs Wilson, of Surrey, described how a man had made the “calculated” move of positioning himself in an alleyway on a busy road where only she could see him.

The DJ had just dropped her five-year-old daughter off at school and was walking down Tunnel Avenue, Greenwich, which is just off the A2 – a road which leads to Kent – and was pushing her baby son in a pram at the time. 

‘I was completely frozen’

At the time, Couzens was working as a Special Constable for Kent Police, a role he held from 20 December 2006 to 29 September 2010.

“It’s quite a busy road, not a residential one,” she said. “And somebody shouted: ‘hey!’ and I looked over and there was a man, and he had his trousers down and he was exposing himself … it was horrific – and I had my baby with me.

“He’d obviously positioned himself in a place where nobody else could see him, so the trajectory was spot on. He was in an alleyway where the line of vision wasn’t left or right, the only person that could see him would have been me. He’d obviously thought about it because he’d shouted at the right moment … I was really scared.

“I was completely frozen, and then I just felt massively panicked because I was with my child,” she said.

“Your instant thought is that there’s going to be more. I don’t know why anybody would think that flashing is a standalone, innocuous thing to do – it’s not, it’s aggressive and awful.”

‘The police officers just laughed’

The DJ said she took out her phone to call the police “and he started to move and that was when I got really scared” before running into a nearby shop and dialling 999.

She said that later that day, a male and female officer came to her house. “They sat on my sofa, and I was telling them, and it was obviously graphic, and they laughed,” she said.

“This is why I want to say something. They thought it was funny, and I said ‘I’m not sure what you think’s funny’, and they were just very nonplussed about it. And I remember saying to them at the time: ‘I hope this is all he needs to do’. 

“My husband remembers me saying that to them. And then, nothing happened, I didn’t hear anything else. I think they said they were going to drive around the block to see if they could see anything, but they didn’t. 

“[…] but as soon as I saw the pictures of him, I said: ‘That’s him’. 

“I didn’t say anything for a week or so because you can’t say things like this out loud unless you’re really sure… and I’d heard the further reports about flashing incidents, and the positioning of where it was  – that road that he did that on is a direct route down to Kent. It’s on the same road as the Swanley incidents. 

“Number one, I can’t prove that it was him. But number two, I was laughed at. They laughed at me. They did. They laughed.”

She believes the force closed the case without informing her. Mrs Wilson said the incident “shook me up for a very long time” and the following year her family moved house – partly because she no longer felt safe in the area. 

Allegations of indecent exposure

Following his conviction, Mrs Wilson also reported her concerns about how officers handled her report, as well as her belief that the man who sexually harassed her was Couzens to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), saying she would be “more than happy to cooperate” with any investigation. 

The watchdog is currently investigating how Kent Police in 2015, and the Metropolitan Police in 2021, handled allegations of indecent exposure now linked to Couzens.

Jamie Klingler, co-founder of Reclaim These Streets, a women’s safety campaign group which organised a vigil for Ms Everard attended by thousands of people, praised Mrs Wilson’s bravery in speaking out and called for “a hotline for people who feel the police have not taken their reports of sexual harassment or violence seriously”.

She added: “It’s so important that women are able to confidently report crimes and especially abuse of power at the hands of the police.”

A Met Police spokesperson said: “On Friday, 8 October, the Met received a complaint concerning an investigation into an alleged incident of indecent exposure that occurred in Greenwich in November 2008. The complaint is being assessed by officers from the Directorate of Professional Standards.”

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