Met Police faces watchdog probe over indecent exposure allegation against suspect in Sarah Everard case

Friday, 12th March 2021, 9:05 am
Updated Friday, 12th March 2021, 2:15 pm
Scotland Yard is facing an investigation by the police watchdog regarding its handling of an allegation of indecent exposure against the officer suspected of murdering Sarah Everard (Photo: Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Scotland Yard is facing an investigation by the police watchdog regarding its handling of an allegation of indecent exposure against the officer suspected of murdering Sarah Everard

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) will look at whether officers “responded appropriately” to a report that a man had exposed himself at a fast food restaurant in south London on 28 February - three days before Ms Everard's disappearance.

Scotland Yard confirmed on Friday afternoon (12 March) that a body found in woodland near Ashford, Kent, during the search for for Ms Everard - who went missing as she walked home in south London last week - as hers.

A serving Met officer remains in custody having been held on suspicion of Ms Everard's kidnap and murder.

The IOPC said in a statement: “The Independent Office for Police Conduct has started an independent investigation into whether Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officers responded appropriately to a report of indecent exposure.

“The IOPC’s investigation follows a conduct referral from the MPS in relation to two officers, received last night (Wednesday), which is linked to four other referrals.

“They are all connected to the arrest of a serving MPS officer on suspicion of kidnap, murder and a separate allegation of indecent exposure.”

The IOPC is also assessing a referral relating to police actions after Ms Everard was reported missing, and another in relation to the suspect being taken to hospital.

The arrested Metroplitan Police officer, who is in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, was treated for a head injury sustained while in custody on Thursday (11 March).

He was later discharged and returned to the police station where he is being held, after an application to extend his detention was granted at Wimbledon Magistrates' Court.

The Met later said he had sustained the injury while alone in his cell and received immediate first aid.

‘She was kind and thoughtful, caring and dependable’

On Thursday night, Ms Everard’s family released a statement describing Sarah as “bright and beautiful” and a “shining example to us all”.

They said: “Our beautiful daughter Sarah was taken from us and we are appealing for any information that will help to solve this terrible crime.

“Sarah was bright and beautiful – a wonderful daughter and sister. She was kind and thoughtful, caring and dependable. She always put others first and had the most amazing sense of humour.

“She was strong and principled and a shining example to us all. We are very proud of her and she brought so much joy to our lives.

“We would like to thank our friends and family for all their support during this awful time and we would especially like to thank Sarah’s friends who are working tirelessly to help.”