The sickening message allegedly sent by a rookie policeman joking about Sarah Everard’s murder emerged yesterday.
The probationary officer, aged around 22, is said to have sent the ‘meme’ – a shared joke image – to seven colleagues as he manned a cordon in woods near Ashford, Kent, where the 33-year-old’s body was found.
It shows a policeman going through six stages from abduction to murder in a pastiche of the Highway Code.
In one image it shows the officer directing traffic holding a hand up to say ‘Stop single girl’. He then gives various signals for different sickening actions, culminating in the murder and disposal of a body.
A rookie police officer guarding the murder scene of Sarah Everard allegedly shared a vile message with other officers showing a parody of the Highway Code. It depicts a cartoon policeman going through six stages from abduction to murder
A probationary officer, aged around 22, is said to have sent the ‘meme’ – a shared joke image – to seven colleagues as he manned a cordon in woods near Ashford, Kent, where the 33-year-old’s body was found
Yesterday there were calls for the officer who allegedly sent the appalling Whats-App message to be sacked.
Miss Everard’s family are already reeling from the arrest of Metropolitan Police firearms officer Wayne Couzens, 48, on suspicion of kidnap and murder.
It shows a policeman going through six stages from abduction to murder in a pastiche of the Highway Code
The meme was sent last Thursday a day after Miss Everard’s body was found. She had disappeared from a street in Clapham, south London, as she walked home from a friend’s house on March 3.
Horrified police colleagues immediately reported the message to senior officers who referred the matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
The watchdog has launched three probes following an unprecedented seven referrals for alleged blunders regarding the case so far. The rookie officer, who has not been identified, was placed on restricted duties.
Last June, two Met officers were arrested for allegedly sharing selfies on WhatsApp of the bodies of murdered sisters Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman, 27, while guarding their murder scene in Wembley.
Yesterday their mother, former Chelmsford Archdeacon Wilhelmina Smallman said: ‘All I can say is when you’ve lost your children you think nothing else could possibly happen and then you discover another layer of betrayal and trauma.’
She added: ‘When they [the officers] disclosed that police, whose job it was to protect the forensic area, had taken selfies with our dead children, it just took my grief to another level.
‘I have been haunted by pictures of images I think they took and it has brought on a recurrence of mental health issues. I can’t begin to tell you how much sympathy I have for Sarah’s family.
‘To hear the level of disrespect for their daughter is horrific and it’s another example of the toxicity of the Met Police. Of course there are good policemen out there, but actually, as an institution, there’s misogyny.’
Harriet Wistrich, director of the Centre for Women’s Justice, said: ‘We are never going to tackle violence against women if we have got police officers demonstrating this level of misogyny and hatred towards women. It is sick.’
Met Police detectives have continued to widen their search and were today seen scouring a stream in Sandwich, Kent after Ms Everard’s body was found over 30 miles away
Police scour stream in Kent near where Sarah Everard’s body was found
Sir Peter Fahy, former chief constable of Greater Manchester, told Good Morning Britain: ‘This is obviously another dent to potential confidence in policing but it mirrors my experience that police officers actually are very intolerant of misconduct by their colleagues and when they see things that are unacceptable… they are immediately reporting it and swift action is being taken.’
Met Assistant commissioner Nick Ephgrave said: ‘The Metropolitan Police Service expects its officers to behave professionally at all times and this includes how they use social media.
‘I take allegations that any officer or officers have failed to observe these standards very seriously and have referred this matter to the IOPC.’
The development comes after the Met were accused of heavy-handed tactics while arresting women at a vigil to Miss Everard on Saturday.
Family of Sarah Everard look on as Met officer Wayne Couzens appears at Old Bailey charged with her murder
The family of Sarah Everard watched the police firearms officer charged with her murder appear in court yesterday.
Wayne Couzens joined the Old Bailey via videolink from Belmarsh Prison to face allegations that he snatched the 33-year-old as she walked home from a friend’s house in south London on March 3.
Bearing cuts to his head and above his left eye, Couzens, 48, rocked back and forth and swayed in his chair throughout the 27-minute hearing.
He wore a red sweatshirt and grey jogging bottoms and kept his sleeves pulled over his hands and his head bowed.
Couzens appeared to have a left black eye as he appeared by videolink to the Old Bailey
Ms Everard’s murder and Couzens’ arrest has sparked vigils across the country in her memory
He spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth. Prosecutor Tom Little QC told the court ‘there has been a very significant and wide-ranging investigation’ given the circumstances of the case.
Members of Miss Everard’s family joined the hearing in court 10 of the Central Criminal Court by video link, according to court officials.
Defence barrister James Sturman QC did not make a bail application and Couzens, of Deal, Kent, was remanded into custody.
The judge, Mark Lucraft QC, set a provisional trial date of October 25, with a plea hearing on July 9.
Miss Everard’s body was found in woodland in Ashford on March 10. A post-mortem examination has taken place. The inquest into her death will open tomorrow.
Sarah’s tragic death has been hijacked by campaigners ‘trying to smear all men with the same brush, says close friend
The death of Sarah Everard has been hijacked by politicians who are trying to ‘smear all men with the same brush’, her close friend has claimed.
Helena Edwards expressed dismay at how some campaigners have tried to capitalise on the shocking incident.
The discovery of Miss Everard’s body after she was kidnapped while walking home in London has triggered a national outcry about how sexism in society fuels violence against women.
The debate deepened last weekend when Metropolitan Police officers manhandled and arrested several protesters during a peaceful vigil for Miss Everard.
The unsavoury scenes, which led to calls for Scotland Yard chief Dame Cressida Dick to resign, came hours after Met officer Wayne Couzens appeared in court charged with the marketing executive’s murder.
Miss Edwards, who studied at Durham University and travelled the world with Miss Everard, said she joined other friends in boycotting the vigil in Clapham Common.
She wrote in Spiked magazine: ‘My reason for not attending is this: my friend’s tragic death has been hijacked. It is not a tribute to her any more, it’s about something else – and I don’t like what it has become.’
While the event was overwhelmingly peaceful, Miss Edwards said, some participants were trying to point the finger of blame at all men and the police.
She said that Miss Everard would not have agreed with how some have rushed to ‘look for reasons and apportion blame’, adding: ‘Sarah was a victim of one of the most horrific crimes imaginable. She was extremely unlucky – that is all there is to it.
‘Her abduction and murder is not, in my opinion, a symptom of a sexist, dangerous society.’
Following Miss Everard’s death, a Green Party peer called for a 6pm curfew to be introduced for men to ‘make women feel a lot safer’.
Miss Edwards said that the suggestion was ‘one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard’ and that Sarah ‘would not agree with the circumstances of her disappearance being used to promote these kinds of ideas’.
Miss Everard had ‘many wonderful men in her life’ who ‘are just as horrified as everyone else by what has happened’, Miss Edwards said, adding: ‘I don’t think Sarah would have wanted them, or men in general, to be smeared with the same brush as her attacker.’
The fallout over Scotland Yard’s disastrous handling of last weekend’s vigil has led to renewed debate about the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. Labour said the proposed legislation, which passed its first parliamentary hurdle yesterday, does nothing to protect women.
On Monday, Boris Johnson pledged an extra £45million for the Safer Streets initiative, with better street lighting and CCTV.