Newly released WhatsApp messages reveal that Wayne Couzens frequently joked about rape and sexual assault with other colleagues. Couzens, a former Metropolitan Police officer serving a life sentence for the 2021 murder of Sarah Everard, was recently sentenced to a further 19 months in prison for three counts of indecent exposure prior to the murder.
The WhatsApp exchanges have now been revealed as part of an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). The messages show Couzens joking about raping and sexually assaulting women, including domestic violence survivors, with six other police officers. Some of the published messages can be found below:
22 February 2019
Wayne Couzens: Messy one, lovely. Remember Forster, it’s got to be consensual!
Matthew Forster: They’ve only got to say yes once.
21 June 2019
Wayne Couzens: Mate they aren’t gonna ditch you with your skill sets, unless you finger a DV [domestic violence] victim!
Wayne Couzens: Oh, Jon in that case you’re probably f***d.
Jonathan Cobban: That’s alright, DV victims love it… that’s why they are repeat victims more often than not.
The WhatsApp messages also show Couzens making various racist and offensive remarks. Derogatory comments were not only directed to those outside of the force but female colleagues as well. There were no signs that these messages were challenged by any of the six officers involved in the group.
The officers have since been sacked for their role in the group chats. Two of them – Jonathan Cobban and Joel Borders – were sentenced to jail time in November 2022 for “grossly offensive messages.”
The IOPC report did not investigate Couzens due to the criminal proceedings he was already facing in relation to the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard. However, the text exchanges further call into question the internal culture of the Met Police. Last year, the IOPC gave 15 recommendations to address a culture of bullying and harassment within the Met.