LONDON — She was just 10 minutes from home.
Those are words said after so many women have been kidnapped and murdered. The latest is 33-year-old Sarah Everard, who was last seen walking in South London 9:30 p.m. on March 3. Her death has caused uproar and the case is now gripping the U.K.
Police confirmed a body found by investigators was that of the 33-year-old. London Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens has been charged with her kidnapping and murder.
Couzens, 48, appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court on Saturday. He has been remanded in custody and will appear in court at the Old Bailey in London on March 16, according to Met Police.
The case has caused many women in the U.K. and around the world to share their close encounters with men harassing them along with precautions to stay safe — like clutching keys between their knuckles, pretending to talk to someone on the phone, or not wearing headphones at night.
Assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Nick Ephgrave said Friday that he understood that “women in London and the wider public, particularly those in the area where Sarah went missing, will be worried and may well be feeling frightened.”
“I know that the public feels hurt and angry about what has happened. And those are sentiments that I share personally, and I know my colleagues here at Scotland Yard and across the Met share as well,” Ephgrave said.
Saturday saw Londoners defy a police warning not to gather in large numbers due to Covid restrictions as a large crowd of mourners gathered at a makeshift memorial in Clapham, where Everard was last seen.
Police began to disperse the crowd, which led to the mourners chanting “shame on you” and “arrest your own.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Saturday night put out a statement amid anger at the police response to the gathering.
“The scenes from Clapham Common are unacceptable,” he said. “The police have a responsibility to enforce Covid laws but from images I’ve seen it’s clear the response was at times neither appropriate nor proportionate.”
Over 70 percent of women surveyed by UN Women UK said they had experienced sexual harassment in public spaces. Meanwhile, the number rises to a whopping 97 percent among women between the ages of 18 to 24, polling showed.