Daily Express

Ex-cop ‘failed to properly probe Couzens flashing’

- By Paul Jeeves Crime Editor

A PC who quit after setting up a raunchy online account did not properly investigat­e policeman Wayne Couzens before he murdered Sarah Everard, a disciplina­ry hearing heard.

Samantha Lee, who called herself Officer Naughty on the pay-to-access OnlyFans website, had been tasked with investigat­ing Couzens over two flashing incidents.

They were reported shortly before he kidnapped, raped and murdered marketing executive Sarah, 33.

But the then PC failed to make “the correct investigat­ive inquiries” into Couzens exposing himself to women staff at a McDonald’s drive-thru on February 14 and 27, 2021, the panel heard yesterday.

Couzens, who kidnapped Sarah on March 3 that year, is now serving a

‘She was more intent on getting away quickly than in performing her duties’

whole-life jail sentence. The Met Police hearing was told the indecent exposure incidents at the McDonald’s in Swanley, Kent, were reported on February 28. But they were deemed “less urgent” and it took PC Lee, 29, until March 3 to interview the restaurant manager.

Hours later, gun cop Couzens abducted Sarah in Clapham, southwest London.

The hearing was told despite CCTV footage, card details, witness statements and till receipts that confirmed Couzens was the culprit, she still missed the chance to arrest him and falsely accused McDonald’s of deleting all its CCTV.

PC Lee clocked off for a nine-day break without handing over key details in the case, the panel heard.

Senior officers who picked up the exposure case in the wake of Couzens being charged with murder noted that PC Lee neglected to check CCTV held at a nearby BP garage or a reg plate recognitio­n camera on the A21.

Ms Lee denies breaching the Met’s standards on duties and responsibi­lities, plus honesty and integrity.

If she is found by the panel to have committed gross misconduct, she could be banned from serving in the force again.

Paul Ozin KC, for the Met, said McDonald’s manager Sam Taylor reported Couzens twice drove in with his trousers and pants down, exposing himself to women staff. He insisted he showed PC Lee the footage, she argues she did not know it existed.

A computer check confirmed that the black Seat Exeo car involved was registered to the murderous officer.

Mr Ozin said when PC Lee arrived at the restaurant, it was her final task of the day and “a rushed job”.

After the visit, she recommende­d that Couzens be arrested and questioned. But Mr Ozin said she failed to put payment receipts in sealed evidence bags, claiming she thought her report would be given to a different team to follow up.

The barrister told the hearing in Southwark, South London, that PC

Lee’s behaviour “suggests that she was more intent in getting away quickly than in performing her duties properly”.

He added: “It is supportive of the unpalatabl­e conclusion that PC Lee just did not bother to get the CCTV, even though she knew it was important. And that she later lied to others when she knew that the stakes had escalated astronomic­ally.”

In March this year, Couzens, of Deal, Kent, was sentenced to 19 months after admitting the two flashing charges. He also admitted exposing himself to a woman cyclist in a country lane in 2020.

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 ?? Pictures: JORDAN PETTITT/PA ?? Accused... Samantha Lee yesterday. Right, killer Couzens and victim Sarah Everard
Pictures: JORDAN PETTITT/PA Accused... Samantha Lee yesterday. Right, killer Couzens and victim Sarah Everard

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