Sarah Everard was handcuffed in a false arrest before she was raped and murdered by serving police officer at the time Wayne Couzens, a court has heard.

Prosecutor Tom Little QC described how Ms Everard was shown a warrant card when being falsely arrested.

Couzens had been working on Covid patrols earlier this year and would have known what language to use when approaching Ms Everard, the court heard.

Couple witnessed Sarah Everard kidnapping

The court heard how a couple travelling home in a car witnessed the kidnapping.

A woman on the pavement appeared to have her left arm behind her back and was in the process of “giving her other arm behind her back” as a man in dark clothing handcuffed her, according to the witness.

Mr Little said: “The immediate impression the passenger formed was that she was witnessing an undercover police officer arresting a woman, whom she assumed ‘must have done something wrong’.”

The prosecutor added: “They were in fact witnessing the kidnapping of Sarah Everard. She was detained by fraud.

“The defendant using his warrant card and handcuffs as well as his other police issue equipment to affect a false arrest.”

Times and Star: Former Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens. (PA)Former Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens. (PA)

Wayne Couzens, 48, was a serving Pc with the Metropolitan Police when he snatched Ms Everard as she walked home in Clapham, south London, on the evening of March 3.

The sexual predator, who had clocked off from a 12-hour shift that morning, went on to rape and strangle the 33-year-old marketing executive.

A week after she disappeared, Ms Everard’s body was found in a woodland stream in Ashford, Kent, just metres from land owned by Couzens.

Mr Little said: "The defendant's plot of land is very close to, and in the same woods, where he was to burn Sarah Everard's body after he had murdered her.

"He then moved her body in green bags that he had purchased specifically for that task to a pond deeper into the woods, but which was only about 130 metres from his plot."

Scotland Yard issue statement over Sarah Everard case

The new details of how Couzens abused is role as a serving police officer has seen Scotland Yard move to address public concerns.

Ahead of the start of the two-day sentencing, Scotland Yard released a statement: “We are sickened, angered and devastated by this man’s crimes which betray everything we stand for.

“Our thoughts are with Sarah’s family and her many friends. It is not possible for us to imagine what they are going through.

“We recognise his actions raise many questions and concerns but we will not be commenting further until the hearing is complete.”