Sarah Everard’s killer Wayne Couzens got over £20,000 in tax money

The depraved Met Police officer who kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard was handed £20,000 to try and avoid a death sentence in prison.

Wayne Couzens, 48, who has now been discharged from the force, was given the massive amount to fund his defense against the horrific crimes.

Couzens – who owns a £225,000 home – admitted his offenses and the legal aid paid for him to help respected side Jim Sturman QC soften his case on sentencing.

The amount may come as a shock to Miss Everard’s family, who have been devastated by the crimes committed by the former Diplomatic Protection Officer.

Legal aid is income-related, so it is not clear where Couzens’ own money has gone.

He was still getting his £33,000 police pay under labor regulations until he pleaded guilty to wrongdoing in July this year.

The director of investigation at the Center for Crime Prevention, David Spencer, was shocked when MailOnline revealed the charges to him.

He said: ‘Wayne Couzens has admitted to a grotesque crime and was rightfully sentenced to life in prison. As a serving police station, he earned a good salary and it is completely wrong that he could claim thousands of pounds of taxpayer money in a doomed attempt to reduce his sentence.

This is the latest in a long line of examples of abuse of legal aid to help convicted criminals stay out of prison.

“This is not what the system was designed for and not what taxpayers expect it to be used for. We have been assured that a review of legal aid is underway. This case emphasizes more than ever how much reform is needed.’

Barrister Mr Sturman unsuccessfully argued in his sentencing that the murderous sex offender should not die in prison and is serving a life sentence.

He asked the Old Bailey and Lord Justice Fulford for a rate on the term he gave Couzens, but the judge disagreed.

Wayne Couzens will die in prison and serve a life sentence for murdering Miss Everard in March

Couzens had a respected side Jim Sturman QC to soften his case at the Old Bailey

Couzens had a respected side Jim Sturman QC to soften his case at the Old Bailey

Couzens, 48, made a fake Covid arrest to lock Miss Everard in his rental car

Couzens, 48, made a fake Covid arrest to lock Miss Everard in his rental car

Mr. Sturman insisted: ‘A 35-year rate is likely that the defendant will end up serving his entire life in prison.

“Most cases of life sentences were multiple murders or there was a second conviction, infanticide or politically motivated.”

MailOnline can reveal Couzens’ £20,122.75 in legal aid funded by a lawyer when he was taken to London for questioning after his arrest.

But the majority – £17,136 – was spent on lawyers’ fees, including on sentencing, while £2,692.74 was paid.

Costs are expected to rise even further now that Couzens has appealed his lifetime fee.

An official from the Court of Appeals said in October, “A request (for permission to appeal the sentence) has been filed.”

Questioned by police, Couzens (pictured in handcuffs) lied that he had been 'leaned' by an Eastern European gang who threatened to harm his family if he didn't agree to pick up a woman

Questioned by police, Couzens (pictured in handcuffs) lied that he had been ‘leaned’ by an Eastern European gang who threatened to harm his family if he didn’t agree to pick up a woman

Couzens, 48, will die in prison while serving a life sentence for murdering Miss Everard in March

Couzens in his uniform

Couzens, 48, was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping, raping and murdering Miss Everard

‘Nothing can bring her back – but knowing he’ll be locked up forever gives some relief’: Sarah Everard’s family’s reaction to Couzens’ whole life

“We are very pleased that Wayne Couzens has been given a life sentence and will spend the rest of his life in prison. Nothing can make things better, nothing can bring Sarah back, but the knowledge that he will be imprisoned forever brings some relief.

“Sarah lost her life needlessly and cruelly, and all the years of life she had yet to enjoy were stolen from her. Wayne Couzens held a position of trust as a police officer and we are outraged and sickened that he abused this trust to lure Sarah to her death. The world is a safer place now that he is imprisoned.

“It’s been almost seven months since Sarah died and the pain of losing her is overwhelming. We miss her all the time. She was a beautiful young woman in appearance and character and our lives are poorer without her. We remember all the beautiful things about Sarah – her compassion and kindness, her intelligence, her strong social conscience. But most of all we remember her smiling and dancing and enjoying life. We keep her safe in our hearts.

“We are extremely grateful to the police and legal team who worked on Sarah’s case. We cannot thank them enough for their painstaking and painstaking work and for their constant support. We also extend our sincere thanks to our family and friends who have comforted us through this terrible time.”

Couzens used Covid powers to make a fake arrest of 33-year-old marketing manager Miss Everard as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham in March.

He went on to commit crimes so heinous that they shocked the nation and undermined trust in the police for the next several hours.

Couzens used his warrant card and handcuffs to carry out the crime and had been planning for at least a month before the March 3 kidnapping.

His September sentence marked the first time a life sentence had been handed down for a single adult murder not committed during a terror attack.

A slew of allegations have come to light about Couzens since he spent his life in prison with no chance of parole after kidnapping, raping and murdering Miss Everard.

He is known to have committed indecent exposure by driving naked from the waist down in his car when he served with them in 2015.

Couzens has also been identified as responsible for committing the same crime at a McDonald’s restaurant days before he targeted Miss Everard.

On March 3, he made a fake Covid arrest, handcuffed her and put her in his car before driving 80 miles to Kent, where he raped and killed her. Days later, he burned her body and left it in woods near the land he owned.

The Met faced a wave of criticism over missed opportunities to expose Couzens as a sexual predator before going to kill Miss Everard.

As it turned out, the 48-year-old was known as “the rapist” by Civil Nuclear Constabulary staff for making female colleagues feel so uncomfortable.

He had been charged with indecent exposure in Kent in 2015 and in London in the days before Mrs Everard’s murder, but was allowed to continue working.

A Justice Department spokesperson said: “Anyone facing a trial is eligible for legal aid, provided a strict means test is carried out.

“Depending on their resources, applicants for criminal assistance may be required to pay contributions towards the full cost of the defense.”

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