A witness passing by in a vehicle saw what was happening and noted that it looked abnormal, but thought it was just a police officer detaining a woman “who had done something wrong,” the prosecutor told the court.
Footage from surveillance cameras showed that Ms. Everard complied with Mr. Couzens’ demand to get into the car, as she most likely believed she was being arrested.
Rights groups reacted with outrage to the new information.
The Women’s Equality Party said the abduction in this manner was “a disgusting abuse of power,” and called for an independent inquiry into sexism in the Metropolitan Police force and for violence against women and girls to be treated as a national threat.
“Women cannot be expected to trust the police when we have to live with the fear of this,” the party said in a statement. “Misogyny is steeped in our institutions.”
Many have been critical of the failure by the police to investigate allegations of other sexual offenses by Mr. Couzens before the murder of Ms. Everard, including reports that he exposed himself in public days before the attack.
On Wednesday, London’s Metropolitan Police posted a statement ahead of the sentencing hearing acknowledging that Mr. Couzens’ “actions raise many concerns.
“We are sickened, angered and devastated by this man’s crimes which betray everything we stand for,” the police said in a statement.