The British police officer arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and murdering Sarah Everard was rushed to a hospital Thursday after being found collapsed in his cell, according to a report.
Metropolitan police specialist firearms officer Wayne Couzens, 48, was found with head wounds Thursday after his second night in custody over the missing 33-year-old marketing exec, police confirmed to The Sun.
The father-of-two was believed to have been alone at the time in his cell in Wandsworth police station in south London, the outlet said.
“He was found unconscious in his cell with head injuries,” a source told the outlet. “The custody officers rushed in and gave him immediate first aid and he was taken to [a] hospital,” the source said.
“It caused a hell of a panic and serious questions are being asked over how it happened.”
The Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards are thought to be investigating the incident, the paper said.
Scotland Yard confirmed to The Sun that “the suspect was taken to a hospital for treatment to a head injury sustained while in custody.”
“He has since been discharged and returned to custody,” a spokesperson told the outlet.
Couzens was identified by numerous UK media outlets as the serving officer who was arrested over the disappearance of Everard, who was last seen on grainy CCTV images as she walked home in south London from a night out on March 3.
Police confirmed Wednesday that human remains had been found near Ashford in Kent, about 20 miles from Couzens’ hometown of Kent.
While the remains had not been officially IDed as the 33-year-old missing woman, Everard’s uncle told the Evening Standard that it was “difficult to cling on to hope” for her “devastated” family.
After the discovery, the officer was also “further arrested” in custody, now on the suspicion of murder.
The 48-year-old cop, a firearms officer from Scotland Yard’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, is also suspected for an unrelated indecent exposure, police said, without offering details. He has yet to be formally charged.
His Ukraine-born wife Elena, 38, was also arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender, The Sun said.
Detectives are looking into whether the cop used his official police ID to lure Everard into his vehicle, The Sun said.
“The working hypothesis is that he saw Sarah on the street for the first time and kidnapped her,” a source told the UK paper.
“One theory is that he may have used the Covid lockdown as a pretext to engage with her and then snatched her.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday said he was “shocked and deeply saddened” by developments in the “horrifying crime.”
London’s top cop, Commissioner Cressida Dick, said that the news that the murder suspect was one of her own serving officers “has sent waves of shock and anger through the public and through the whole of the Met.”
“I speak on behalf of all my colleagues in the Met when I say we are utterly appalled at this dreadful news. Our job is to patrol the streets and to protect people,” the commissioner said.
“Sarah’s disappearance in these awful and wicked circumstances is every family’s worst nightmare.”
The kidnapping sparked fear for women throughout the UK, with the hashtags #saraheverard and #TooManyMen soon trending.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said that “every woman should feel safe to walk on our streets without fear of harassment or violence.”
Commissioner Dick insisted, however, that “it is thankfully incredibly rare for a woman to be abducted from our streets.”