Sarah Everard and the Disgraceful Politicising of her Death

On 13 March ‘Reclaim These Streets’, the organisers of a proposed vigil for Sarah Everard, tweeted that the event on Clapham Common had been cancelled. What followed was disgraceful politicising of her death.

Who was Sarah Everard

Sarah was a young, vibrant marketing executive who disappeared on the evening of 3 March.  Having visited a friend in Clapham, she set off to walk back to her flat in Brixton at 9:00pm.  She was just 33 years old when she made what would end up being a fatal journey.

On 12 March Wayne Couzens, was arrested and charged with her kidnap and murder. He was a serving, armed Metropolitan police officer and 48 years old.  His duties included guarding foreign embassies.

Also on 12 March, the police confirmed that human remains that had been found in Kent were those of Sarah Everard.

Media storm

Sarah’s murder sparked a media storm with women across the UK demanding more protection. On social media many shared their personal experiences of sexual harassment on public transport and in the street.  Others posted advice as to how women can protect themselves. One Green Party peer, Baroness Jones of Moulescoomb, suggested to the House of Lords that men should be placed on a 6:00pm curfew.

Police criticism

The Metropolitan Police warned people proposing to go ahead with the vigil that they would be violating Covid-19 restrictions relating to public gatherings. The vigil that took place began peacefully but it has since emerged that political activists ‘gate-crashed’ it after 6:00pm.  These agitators stamped on flowers, threw bottles and assaulted the police while shouted abhorrent abuse and inciting hatred toward them. This resulted in arrests being made.

One prominent arrest showed a red haired woman, Patsy Stevenson, on the ground being pinned down by police.  She has since been identified as a part time actress and model and It has been suggested that she is a political activist, something she denies. Nevertheless the photos taken of her are not those of a woman who is worried about anything at all.  They are well posed.  Her “lack of political activism” didn’t stop her calling for more protests.  Considering she was supposed to be attending a vigil it’s odd that she supports more “protests”.

However, widespread criticism of police methods ensued including from Sadiq Khan, the London Mayor.  There were calls for the Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick, to resign.

Government response

An independent inquiry is to be set up (not another one!) looking into the action that police took at this event. Currently there is a bill proposing new legislation widening the powers of police going through parliament.  This will allow police to clamp down on protesters and charge them with causing “significant inconvenience”.  On conviction, protesters could spend up to ten years in prison.

Human Rights activists describe this new proposed legislation as “draconian” and the opposition party says it will not vote in favour of it.

Lie Detector Test UK opinion

As forensic psychologists we see more and more the rise of deceit in society particularly in politics. It is repugnant that the death of Sarah Everard has been used to fuel political agendas.

The police have a difficult job carrying out orders from above and upholding the law and abusing them in the course of their duties is never going to solve anything.

Male murderers, rapists and sexual molesters have existed since humans inhabited the earth.  They mostly target women but also target men.  To suggest that all men are responsible for these acts is frankly ridiculous. There have been innumerable studies into why people commit these crimes and there is no real consensus of opinion on the cause.

Some parents of boys have been rightly outraged about calls for boys to be taught in school not to commit these offences.  Most parents have already taught their boys how to behave.

For now, we suggest that women do as much as they can to protect themselves until such time as there are no more murderers, rapists and sexual molesters. We would like to see a law passed to allow women to carry mace spray as a minimum.

Our thoughts are with Sarah Everard’s family at this time. Hopefully they have been shielded from the outrageous scenes at Clapham Common.  Some respectful vigils did go ahead nationwide without incident.