image copyrightFamily handout
image captionSarah Everard has been described as “beautiful, thoughtful and incredibly kind”
Scotland Yard is to be investigated over its handling of an allegation of indecent exposure against the officer suspected of murdering Sarah Everard.
The police watchdog will consider if Metropolitan Police officers “responded appropriately” to the alleged incident.
Ms Everard, 33, was last seen in Clapham, south London, on 3 March.
The Met officer arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of her kidnap and murder is back in a police station after being treated in hospital for a head injury.
On Thursday, Ms Everard’s family paid tribute to her, saying she “brought so much joy to our lives” and was a “shining example to us all”.
Police looking for the missing marketing executive said human remains had been found in woodland in Kent on Wednesday, but detectives have not yet been able to confirm their identity.
image captionPolice are continuing to search land near Great Chart Golf Leisure Country Club in Ashford
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) says it has launched an investigation after receiving five referrals from the Met Police in relation to its handling of the case.
The watchdog will examine how officers responded after receiving 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.
The other referrals were over the arrest of a serving officer on suspicion of kidnap, murder and a separate allegation of indecent exposure, the Met’s actions after Ms Everard was reported missing and the injury of the suspect while in custody.
The arrested man, who is in his 40s and works with the Met’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, was taken to hospital on Thursday suffering from head injuries.
He was treated, 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.
Ms Everard was last seen on 3 March walking alone down a main road in Clapham at 21:30 GMT, with police saying it was unclear whether she reached her home in Brixton.
The former Durham University student, who is originally from York, was wearing a green rain jacket, navy blue trousers with a white diamond pattern, and turquoise and orange trainers when she went missing.
In a statement, her family appealed for more information to “help 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,” they said.
“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.”
The case has prompted an outpouring of shock and anger as women across the country share their own experiences of feeling unsafe.
Organisers of a “Reclaim These Streets” vigil planned for Saturday evening on Clapham Common say the police have reversed their position and now say it cannot go ahead under the current pandemic lockdown restrictions. They say they are planning legal action.
A woman in her 30s, who was arrested in Kent on suspicion of assisting an offender, has been released on bail until mid-April.
- 3 March: Sarah Everard vanishes after leaving a friend’s house on Leathwaite Road, Clapham, about 21:00 GMT
- 5 March: Met Police are “increasingly concerned” for Ms Everard and make an appeal on Twitter
- 6 March: Ms Everard’s family say her disappearance is “totally out of character” as officers search Clapham Common’s ponds
- 7 March: Footage taken from a doorbell camera shows Ms Everard walking alone along the A205 Poynder Road towards Tulse Hill at 21:30. Police say it is unclear whether or not she reached her house in Brixton
- 8 March: More than 120 calls are made from the public on the case and more than 750 homes are visited as part of the investigation
- 9 March: A serving officer is arrested in Kent along with a woman who is held on suspicion of assisting an offender
- 10 March: Met Police Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave describes the arrest as “shocking and deeply disturbing”. Extensive searches are carried out in parts of Kent. Later in the evening Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said human remains have been found in a woodland in Kent
- 11 March: Suspect taken to hospital after suffering head injuries while in custody. The woman arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender is released on bail
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