A London police officer charged with the murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard is due to appear in court on Saturday.
Serving police constable Wayne Couzens (48) was charged on Friday evening with kidnapping and killing the marketing executive, who went missing while walking home from a friend’s flat in south London on March 3rd.
He is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Saturday morning.
It comes as police said Couzens was taken to hospital for a second time in 48 hours on Friday for treatment to another head injury sustained in custody, before he was discharged and returned to a police station.
He was previously treated in hospital for a separate head wound on Thursday, also sustained in custody when he was alone in his cell.
Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave confirmed the charge in a statement outside Scotland Yard on Friday night.
He said: “I would like at this stage to pay tribute to Sarah’s family for their fortitude and forbearance through what can only have been the most intensely difficult few days.
“Our thoughts remain with them as this matter progresses.”
Regarding the second head injury, a Met Police spokesman said Couzens was being “monitored by officers” when he sustained the wound.
A spokesman said: “The suspect was taken to a hospital for treatment to a head injury sustained while in custody in a cell on Friday.
“He was being monitored by officers and received immediate first aid. He was discharged the same day and returned to custody.”
The police said Couzens joined the force two years ago in September 2018 when he worked for a response team covering the Bromley area, before moving to the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command in February last year.
Couzens was arrested on Tuesday in Kent, with Commissioner Nick Ephgrave commenting at the time that the fact he is a serving police officer “is both shocking and deeply disturbing”.
Ms Everard is thought to have walked through Clapham Common towards her house in Brixton – a journey which should have taken around 50 minutes.
Scotland Yard confirmed on Friday afternoon that human remains found in an area of woodland in Ashford, Kent, two days earlier had been identified as Ms Everard.
Her death has prompted an outpouring of grief from the public, with many women and girls sharing stories online of experiencing violence by men.
A vigil for Ms Everard in south London has been cancelled and organisers said details of a “virtual gathering” will be announced instead.
Reclaim These Streets had been planning to host a demonstration on Clapham Common in south London on Saturday, near to where the 33-year-old went missing.
But organisers said that despite their attempts to work with police to ensure the vigil could go ahead safely, they now felt it could not go ahead.
Scotland Yard is facing an investigation by the police watchdog into its handling of separate allegations of indecent exposure against Couzens, whose primary role was on uniformed patrol duties of diplomatic premises, mainly embassies.
He was alleged to have twice exposed himself at a south London fast food restaurant three days before Ms Everard went missing.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct is to probe whether two officers “responded appropriately” in their investigation.
A forensics team searched an area of land outside the back fence of the Couzens’ house in Deal, Kent, on Friday, while uniformed officers were posted at a derelict garage in Dover, which was run by his family.
Police said a woman in her 30s, who was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of assisting an offender, had been released on bail to return to a police station on a date in mid-April.