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The British police officer accused of kidnapping and murdering a 33-year-old woman in south London made his first court appearance Tuesday.
Wayne Couzens, 48, had a noticeable cut on his forehead as he appeared by video link from prison at London’s Central Criminal Court, according to Reuters. A plea hearing was planned for July while a trial is expected to begin in late October following the death of Sarah Everard earlier this month.
An investigation from the Independent Office of Police Conduct also continues Tuesday into how Couzens sustained a head injury after being taken into custody.
Wayne Couzens, in this sketch, makes his first appearance at the Old Bailey court by video link from Belmarsh top security jail in south London on Tuesday. (Elizabeth Cook/PA/AP)
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Couzens, during his brief court appearance, also made no application for bail, Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, Britain’s government is vowing to increase funding for street lighting and closed-circuit TV as part of a package of measures to help protect women and girls in the wake of Everard’s killing.
She vanished on March 3 while walking home in south London’s Clapham neighborhood. Everard’s remains were found in Kent, southeast of London, about a week later. Couzens, a serving officer with the Metropolitan Police, was charged with her kidnapping and murder.
Journalists try to take pictures of the inside of a prison van moving into the Old Bailey on Tuesday. (AP)
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday night that the government would more than double funding for neighborhood safety measures to $62 million. The government also plans to expand trials of a pilot project that puts plainclothes police officers in and around bars and nightclubs.
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The measures were announced following a meeting of government ministers, prosecutors and senior police officers.
Sarah Everard was found dead about a week after her disappearance.
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Hundreds of people have joined protests in honor of Everard in central London in the past few days, despite coronavirus restrictions on gatherings.
“Ultimately, we must drive out violence against women and girls and make every part of the criminal justice system work to better protect and defend them,” Johnson said in a statement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.