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London Officer Enters Partial Guilty Pleas in Slaying

Sarah Everard's death lead to national debate about violence toward women
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2021 4:55 PM CDT

(Newser) – A London police officer has pleaded guilty in the attack on Sarah Everard, whose slaying in March brought to the surface widespread anger about violence toward women. Anger toward police also mounted after officers broke up a vigil, attended by Kate Middleton, and arrested women who were participating. Everard, a marketing executive, was walking home from a friend's house, a 2.5-mile trip, when she disappeared. Her remains were later found in a wooded area outside London, the Wall Street Journal reports. Wayne Couzens, 48, entered guilty pleas to rape and kidnapping charges on Tuesday over video from prison. He admitted responsibility for Everard's death but didn't enter a plea to the murder charge, per the Guardian. Couzens said only "Guilty, sir" when asked for his pleas. Courtroom spectators included Everard's parents. Couzens, 48, is due next in court on July 9.

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After Everard's death, women told their own stories online, and politicians shared their outrage. One post that had 25,000 retweets, per NPR, said: "This Sarah Everard situation is really scaring me, because she literally spoke to her [boyfriend] on the phone, wore really bright clothing, walked on a main road, was outside before 12am, and she still got killed? Do you know how scary as a woman it is to know that?" A Labor Party member of Parliament said, "Since Sarah Everard went missing, in that week, six women have died at the hands of a primary male suspect, and one little girl." Many women wrote about the precautions they take when walking alone, per CNN, such as holding keys between their knuckles, and acting as if they're on the phone with someone. And many talked about how upsetting it is that they need to do such things. (Read more violence against women stories.)

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