Sarah Everard killer: Wayne Couzens loses bid to reduce whole-life term

Wayne Couzens mugshot
Wayne Couzens admitted the murder, kidnap and rape of Sarah Everard. His lawyer said his remorse should have been taken into account in sentencing

Wayne Couzens has lost an attempt to overturn his whole-life term for the murder of Sarah Everard.

The ex-Metropolitan Police officer, who used his position to trick Ms Everard into his car, had challenged his sentence at the Court of Appeal.

But the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett, said the crime was so exceptional the sentence should stand.

The appeal was part of a major review of what type of rare murders should lead to a whole-life term.

Under the law, judges must consider whole-life sentences in exceptional cases of murder – including double killings or crimes that are particularly sadistic. There are 59 killers currently spending their entire lives in jail.

Dismissing Couzens’ appeal, Lord Burnett said the murder of Ms Everard had been “unspeakably grim”.

“This was, as the [sentencing] judge said, warped, selfish and brutal offending, which was both sexual and homicidal.

“It was a case with unique and extreme aggravating factors.

“Chief amongst those, as the judge correctly identified, was the grotesque misuse of Couzens of his position as a police officer with all that connoted to facilitate Ms Everard’s kidnap, rape and murder.”

Ian Stewart was found guilty in 2022 of the murder of his wife, Diane Stewart, 12 years earlier. That conviction had come after he had already been jailed for the 2016 murder of his then-fiancée Helen Bailey.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart, convicted of murdering his wife and fiancée six years apart, successfully appealed against his sentence

 

The court ruled the case was outside the normal legal rules for a whole-life tariff and reduced the sentence to life with a minimum term of 35 years.

In practice, this means Stewart will be in his 90s before he has the possibility of seeking release on licence.

The attorney general, who has the power to launch challenges against sentences she thinks are too short, asked the Court of Appeal to increase the term given to Jordan Monaghan. He was jailed for 40 years after killing two of his children and partner.

The court increased his sentence to 48 years – meaning he will be nearly 80 before he can ask the Parole Board to consider whether he has been rehabilitated.

Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes
The sentences of Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes for the killing of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes have been considered

 

The attorney general lost a separate appeal to increase the 29-year sentence given to Emma Tustin for the murder of her partner’s six-year-old son, Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.

However, the boy’s father, Thomas Hughes, was told his sentence would be increase from 21 to 24 years.

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