Cops found guilty of 'grossly racist' and 'sexist' chats with Sarah Everard killer Wayne Couzens
Trigger warning: The following article contains description of sexual assault and crimes that some readers may find traumatic. Discretion is advised.
LONDON, ENGLAND: A serving Met police constable and an ex-officer have been found guilty of sharing "grossly racist, sexist, and misogynistic" messages with Sarah Everard's killer Wayne Couzens. Jonathon Cobban, 35, and former PC Joel Borders, 45, have been accused of sharing inappropriate WhatsApp messages about women and disabled people with Couzens.
Cobban, Borders, and Couzens were reportedly part of a WhatsApp group named 'Bottle and Stoppers', where they allegedly exchanged messages about tasering children, animals, and disabled people back in April 2019. Judge Sarah Turnock described some of the comments as "abhorrent". "I can honestly say that I consider it to be sickening to think of a police officer joking about using firearms in this way," Judge Turnock said, according to BBC.
Borders on April 25, 2019, allegedly joked about raping a female colleague using language, that, according to the judge, was "misogynistic and aggressive in its nature". Cobban is from Didcot, Oxfordshire, and Borders comes from Preston, Lancashire. Both of them will be sentenced on November 2, 2022.
Meanwhile, after a trial at Westminster Magistrates' Court in July, William Neville, from Weybridge in Surrey, 34, was cleared of sending grossly offensive messages. Neville was accused of "acting out a rape fantasy" after he allegedly made comments about restraining a teenage girl, referring to it as "struggle snuggle". However, Turnock said the term was used to describe a technique used during police training. The messages, Turnock said, did not in itself imply the action had been sexually motivated.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) had earlier said the charges stemmed from an investigation into Couzens' phone records. OPC regional director Sal Naseem said, "The messages sent by these police officers were inexcusable and particularly disturbing given the profession they represent. Social media cannot be a hiding place for these types of views. Behavior of this nature seriously undermines public confidence in policing." Prosecutor Edward Brown QC previously described the messages as being "grossly racist, sexist, misogynistic".
These messages were shared two years before Sarah Everard's brutal murder. Couzens kidnapped Everard, 33, in a fake arrest in March 2021, and raped and then murdered the marketing executive. Couzens kidnapped her as she was walking home to the Brixton Hill area from a friend's house near Clapham Common before raping and killing her and burning her body. Her body was discovered in woodland outside the city a week after she disappeared. Couzens was given a whole-life jail term for the murder.
"We are very pleased that Wayne Couzens has received a full life sentence and will spend the rest of his life in jail," Everard's family said in a statement after the verdict was handed down, according to CBS. "Nothing can make things better, nothing can bring Sarah back, but knowing he will be imprisoned forever brings some relief."