THE death of Sarah Everard shocked the nation and shone a spotlight on a culture of male harassment and violence against women and girls.

Her death sparked dozens of protests and calls for reform around the UK, but, eight months on, the harming and killing of women on our streets continues.

At least 80 women have been killed in the UK by men – or where a man is the prime suspect – since Sarah Everard was killed on March 4. The figure is more than 100 since the start of the year.

And research from the Femicide Census – an organisation which collects information on men’s violence against women – found that at least 15 serving or former police officers have been responsible for killing women since 2009 across the UK.

Wayne Couzens who kidnapped, raped and murdered Ms Everard will die in jail after being handed a whole life sentence yesterday.

Read more: These are just four officers who brought shame on Cleveland Police

In the wake of the sentencing police chiefs in the North-East said “society is consistently failing women and girls”.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Kim McGuinness, added: “We can only hope this is the beginning of real change to protect and make women’s and girls’ lives safer.”

CEO of Teesside domestic abuse charity EVA Woman’s Aid, Richinda Taylor, hopes the strict sentence will leader to tougher action against similar crimes in the future.

“This is really good news,” she said. “The courts have got it right this time and I don’t often say that and hopefully it will give her family some comfort.

“It gives out a clear message that this kind of crime is not going to be tolerated.

“We would hope that this sets the precedent for such heinous crimes.

Durham PCC, Joy Allen, pledged to put the safety of victims and survivors at the heart of her polices.

She said: “Being protected from violence and exploitation is a basic human right and I am committed to doing everything in my power to help ensure these rights aren’t breached so that women and girls feel safe and confident both outside and in their own homes.

“An effective response requires a concerted effort by many different partners implementing comprehensive and co-ordinated policies and strategies at local, regional, and national level.”

The Northern Echo: A dashcam photo of the moment Couzens stopped Ms Everard at the roadside (left) and Wayne Couzens (right)A dashcam photo of the moment Couzens stopped Ms Everard at the roadside (left) and Wayne Couzens (right)

The shocking circumstances which led to Ms Everard’s death were revealed at a two-day hearing at the Old Bailey.

A court heard how Couzens had used his Metropolitan Police-issue warrant card and handcuffs to snatch Ms Everard in a fake arrest as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham, South London, on March 3.

The firearms officer, who had clocked off from a two-hour shift at the American embassy that morning, later drove a secluded area near Dover in Kent, where he parked up and raped Ms Everard.

The 33-year-old, who had moved to Brixton, South London, had been strangled by Couzens with his police belt by 2.30am the following morning.

The court heard married Couzens burned her body in a refrigerator in an area of woodland he owned in Hoads Wood, near Ashford, before dumping the remains in a nearby pond.

He was arrested at his home in Deal, Kent, after police connected him to a hire car he used to abduct Ms Everard, whose remains were found by police dogs on March 10.

Couzens was sacked from the force after he pleaded guilty in July to her kidnap, rape and murder.

The Northern Echo: Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Lord Justice Fulford sentencing former police officer Wayne Couzens at the Old Bailey in LondonCourt artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Lord Justice Fulford sentencing former police officer Wayne Couzens at the Old Bailey in London

Sentencing at the Old Bailey yesterday, Lord Justice Fulford described the circumstances of the murder as “grotesque”.

He said the seriousness of the case was so “exceptionally high” that it warranted a whole life order.

He said: “The misuse of a police officer’s role such as occurred in this case in order to kidnap, rape and murder a lone victim is of equal seriousness as a murder for the purpose of advancing a political, religious ideological cause.”

He paid tribute to the dignity of Ms Everard’s family, whose statements in court revealed the human impact of Couzens’ “warped, selfish and brutal offending which was both sexual and homicidal”.

“Serious questions” need to be answered by the Metropolitan Police, the Home Secretary has said, as she backed Dame Cressida Dick in the wake of Ms Everard’s murder.

The Met commissioner faced more calls to step down amid demands for urgent action to restore the confidence of women in the police after Wayne Couzens was handed a whole life sentence for the killing.

On Wednesday, Ms Everard’s parents Jeremy and Susan and sister Katie asked Couzens to look at them, condemning him as a “monster” as he sat quaking in the dock with his head bowed.

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