Sarah Everard, 33, went missing on Wednesday, March 3, just days ahead of International Women’s Day. She was walking from her friend’s house in Clapham, south London, to her home in Brixton. A serving Metropolitan Police officer was arrested this week on suspicion of kidnap and murder.
Miss Everard was last seen on a doorbell camera at the junction of Poynders Road and Cavendish Road in Clapham at 9.30pm.
She had spent the evening with friends at Leathwaite Road, leaving the flat around 9pm to travel the 50-minute journey to her home in Brixton on foot.
She spoke to her boyfriend Josh Lowth on the telephone during her journey, with them both making plans to meet the following day.
Miss Everard failed to meet Mr Lowth as the couple had arranged and he tried to reach her.
Her phone was switched off and all messages went unanswered, prompting concern among her friends and family.
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Police and volunteers began searching around Clapham Common last week without any sign of Miss Everard’s whereabouts.
Scotland Yard put out a public appeal for information and her family issued an emotional statement on March 6.
The case was passed to the Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime Command after which sniffer dogs and divers were dispatched to search ponds located on the common.
On Tuesday, March 9, police arrested a serving Metropolitan Police offer at their home on suspicion of kidnap and later murder.
Police also arrested a woman at the same address on suspicion of assisting an offender.
Detectives have not been able to confirm the identity of the remains.
Dame Cressida said it “may take some considerable time” to confirm the victim’s identity, but added specialist officers are assisting Miss Everard’s family.
Commissioner Dick said: “Sarah’s disappearance in these awful and wicked circumstances are, I know, every family’s worst nightmare.
“I know Londoners will want to know that it is thankfully incredibly rare for a woman to be abducted from our streets.
“But I completely understand that despite this, women in London and the wider public – particularly those in the area where Sarah went missing – will be worried and may well be feeling scared.”
She added people living in Clapham and Tulse Hill could expect to see increased patrols in the area.
Police are continuing to question the serving officer on suspicion of murder of the missing Miss Everard. The woman arrested at the same time also remains in custody.
Miss Everard’s disappearance has prompted a serious online discussion about the different attitudes men and women have regarding personal safety.
Women’s Equality Party leader Mandu Reid said: “Abductions might be rare, but male violence against women and girls is not uncommon, the overwhelming majority of women have experienced harassment in public. This creates fear and a sense of threat that all of us live with every day. It feels like a form of domestic terrorism.”
Labour MP Jess Phillips tweeted: “Hoping with all my heart not to have to read out Sarah Everard’s name in the commons. Women should be able to walk the streets free from harm, fear and threat.”
Thousands of other women shared their experiences of harassment and assault and how they have adapted their behaviour when alone.
Some men have also taken the opportunity to ask how they can help women feel safer.
A Covid-secure “Reclaim These Streets” vigil is scheduled to take place on Clapham Common on Saturday evening at 6pm.
Organisers said: “It’s wrong that the response to violence against women requires women to behave differently.
“In Clapham, police told women not to go out at night this week. Women are not the problem.
“We’ve all been following the tragic case of Sarah Everard over the last week.
“This is a vigil for Sarah, but also for all women who feel unsafe, who go missing from our streets and who face violence every day.”