UK: Hundreds defy virus restrictions to remember slain woman

By SYLVIA HUI
Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Hundreds of people in London defied coronavirus restrictions Saturday to pay their respects to a 33-year-old woman who disappeared while walking home and was found dead a week later. The case, which sent shockwaves across the U.K. because a police officer has been charged with her kidnapping and murder, also has spurred a national conversation about violence against women.

Earlier in the day, Metropolitan Police constable Wayne Couzens, 48, appeared in court for the first time since he was arrested on suspicion of abducting and killing marketing executive Sarah Everard, who was last seen walking home from a friend’s apartment in south London on the night of March 3.

Everard’s body was found hidden in an area of woodland in Kent, more than 50 miles southeast of London, on Wednesday. A post-mortem examination was taking place, police said Friday.

The Metropolitan Police has expressed shock and horror that one of its own was a suspect in the case. The London police force said Couzens joined its ranks in 2018 and most recently served in the parliamentary and diplomatic protection command, an armed unit responsible for guarding embassies in the capital and Parliament.

Couzens, who wore a gray tracksuit during Saturday’s brief heaering, stood as the charges were read to him. He was remanded into custody and has another appearance scheduled Tuesday at London’s Central Criminal Court.

In the wake of Everard’s disappearance and killing, many women have taken to social media to share their own experiences of being threatened or attacked while walking outside.

Organizers had hoped to hold “Reclaim the Streets” vigils in Everard’s memory on Saturday but canceled the in-person events after a judge refused to grant an order allowing them to go on despite despite coronavirus restrictions that bar mass gatherings.

The organizers said they were instead raising funds for women’s causes. They also urged people to light a candle on their doorstep rather than attend large gatherings.

Despite the court ruling, hundreds of people turned up Saturday in the Clapham area of London, near where Everard was last seen. Many laid flowers at a make-shift memorial. Among them was Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, who was seen pausing for a moment in front of the sea of flowers.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he planned to light a candle Saturday with his fiancée, Carrie Symond, to remember Everard.

TV and radio presenter Sandi Toksvig said at the start of a vigil held online that a “cultural shift about how women are viewed and treated both in the public and private space” was needed.

“I am filled in equal measure with profound sorrow and rage, and I know there are many who share this rage, and I think it is entirely justifiable,” Toksvig said. “But I also know that it will harm rather than help us if we don’t try and direct that anger to good purpose.”

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Local News

Support workers not pleased with supplemental pay plan in Jeff Davis

Local News

Only a fraction of funding reimbursed to Cameron by FEMA

Local News

15 child deaths attributed to COVID in La.

Local News

School Board extends COVID-related sick leave policy

Local News

Kind Vibes Only: CPSO hosts one-mile anti-bullying walk

Local News

Sowela rolls out fifth annual Flying Tigers Car Show

Local News

Parents urge Jeff Davis School Board to oppose any vaccine mandate

Local News

City hiring two agencies to help with disaster recovery financial advocacy

Crime

Man arrested in Monday shooting near McNeese campus

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:State’s election system secure

Local News

Transfer of Mallard Cove Golf Course to Chennault complete

Local News

Maplewood schools will remain closed Thursday

Local News

Kinder Future Farmers of America collect, deliver fuel to Lafourche Parish

Local Business News

Disaster assistance request for SW La. makes it to budget

Local Business News

Area LyondellBasell plant receives ISCC PLUS certification

Local Business News

When it comes to headwear, Anne Monlezun and Kevin Mattingly have got you covered

Local Business News

Elizabeth Jimney column: Building a website that works for you

Local Business News

Names in the News: People shaping the future of Lake Area business

Local Business News

Few things please Chloun more than delighting diners with authentic Middle Eastern cuisine

Local News

Nicholas expected to weaken to a depression overnight

Local News

Nicholas weakening as it moves toward SW La.

Local News

Update: Today’s weather-related closures and cancellations

Local News

Nicholas expected to stall over SW La. Wednesday

Local News

Nicholas upgraded to category 1 hurricane