Body in woodland is missing Sarah Everard

Marketing executive, 33, disappeared last week while walking home in London

Flowers and messages of condolence for Sarah Everard are seen as police officers patrol near the woodland where police officers found human remains near Ashford, southeast England, on March 12, 2021,  A body found hidden in woodland in Kent has been identified as that of Sarah Everard.
Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave announced outside Scotland Yard on March 12, 2021, that the body found hidden in woodland in Kent has been identified as that of Sarah Everard.
 / AFP / Glyn KIRK

British police revealed on Friday that a body found in Kent woodland is missing Sarah Everard, whose disappearance last week sparked anger and fears among women about their safety.

The marketing executive went missing while walking home from a friend's house in south London last Wednesday. Police arrested a serving officer on suspicion of her kidnap and murder.

Detectives discovered a body 80 kilometres away in Kent woodland two days ago and London Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave confirmed that it was the missing 33-year-old.

"I know that the public feel hurt and angry about what has happened, and those are sentiments that I share personally," Mr Ephgrave said outside the London police headquarters.

Undated handout photo issued by the Metropolitan Police of Sarah Everard who has been missing for over a week. The 33-year-old disappeared on Wednesday March 3, 2021 after leaving a friend's house in Clapham, south London, and began walking to her home in Brixton. The Met Police have said that a serving diplomatic protection officer is being held over the disappearance of Sarah Everard. The officer being held is understood to be the subject of a separate allegation of indecent exposure. (Metropolitan Police via AP)

"I also recognise the wider concerns that are being raised quite rightly about the safety of women in public spaces in London and also elsewhere in the country."

Detectives on Thursday were given extra time to question the arrested officer, who is in his 40s and whose job is to guard diplomatic buildings.

A woman in her 30s, understood to be his partner, was released on police bail having been detained on suspicion of assisting an offender.

Scotland Yard is facing an investigation by the police watchdog into its handling of an allegation of indecent exposure involving the suspect.

The Independent Office of Police Conduct is to investigate whether officers responded appropriately after receiving a report that a man exposed himself at a fast-food restaurant in south London on February 28.

That was three days before Everard, 33, went missing.

Police officers bring flowers at the golf course entrance, as the investigation into the disappearance of Sarah Everard continues, in Ashford, Britain, March 11, 2021. REUTERS/Paul Childs

“The IOPC’s investigation follows a conduct referral from the Metropolitan Police Service in relation to two officers, received last night [Wednesday], which is linked to four other referrals," the watchdog said.

“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 watchdog is also assessing a referral relating to police action after Everard was reported missing, and another in relation to the suspect in her kidnap being taken to hospital.

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

He was later discharged and returned to the police station where he is being held.

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

On Thursday night, Everard’s family released a statement describing her as a “shining example to us all”, and said she had “brought so much joy to our lives”.

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

“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.”

A poster asks people for any information about missing woman Sarah Everard, in the Clapham Common area of  London, Monday March 8, 2021.  New CCTV os missing 33-year old Everard has been discovered during the police investigation to find Everard who left a nearby friend's house last Wednesday evening to walk home, but has not been heard of since. (Kirsty O'Connor/PA via AP)

Everard's family thanked the police and pleaded for people with further information to come forward.

“No piece of information is too insignificant,” they said.

The events since Everard's disappearance prompted an outpouring of shock and anger as women across the country shared their own experiences of feeling unsafe.

A vigil was due to take place at Clapham Common bandstand in south London on Saturday, but organisers are now seeking legal action after claiming the Metropolitan Police reversed their position on allowing the event to go ahead.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Every woman should feel safe to walk our streets without fear of harassment or violence."

Everard is thought to have walked through Clapham Common towards her house in Brixton – a journey that should have taken about 50 minutes.

She was last seen on a doorbell camera walking along the A205 Poynders Road towards Tulse Hill about 9.30pm.

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