Wayne Couzens teken appèl aan teen lewenslange vonnis

Wayne Couzens, gevonnis tot 'n lewenslange tarief vir die ontvoering, rape and murder of Sarah Everard, poog om sy vonnis te verminder, het die appèlhof bevestig.

Couzens, 48, received the rare whole-life term in September because his crimes involved him abusing his position as a Metropolitan police officer to kidnap Everard, 33, from a London street in March.

The imposition by the judge, Lord Justice Fulford, of a whole-life term for the murder of a single person where terrorism was not a factor, set new legal ground.

Couzens kidnapped, raped and murdered Everard, and eventually confessed. He burned her body to try to hide his crimes, which Everard’s family said had added to their anguish.

Couzens’ application to mount an appeal is expected to broadly argue that while his crimes were serious, they did not merit a whole life tariff.

An official at the criminal division of the court of appeal confirmed an application to mount an appeal had been lodged.

Court staff will now gather the relevant documents. The application will then go to a single judge at the court of appeal.

If the application is allowed, three appeal court judges will consider the attempt to have the whole life tariff set aside. If it is rejected, Couzens can later try again.

One justice official said: “We expected this. He has nothing to lose.”

The trial judge who passed sentence said the crimes were as serious as terrorism because of the abuse of his role as a police officer, with Couzens likely to have used Covid powers to trick Everard into a car, using his police warrant card and handcuffs to restrain her, and his police belt to strangle her.

Murder carries a mandatory life sentence so the only decision the judge had to make was the minimum sentence served before any release from jail could be considered.

The Crown Prosecution Service is expected to resist any appeal against sentence and will study the reasons given by Couzen’s lawyers.

The trial judge said he was very aware he was setting new legal ground when sentencing Couzens to a whole-life term, making him one of just over 60 people ordered never to be released.

Any decision by the court of appeal whether to hear the case is not expected for months.

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