Ex Met-police officer gets ‘hundreds of hate messages’ over Couzens probe

A former Metropolitan Police officer who has been banned from policing over her handling of two incidents of flashing by Wayne Couzens says she has received hundreds of hate messages.

Samantha Lee, 29, did not make “the correct investigative inquiries” over two incidents where the killer exposed himself to female staff members at a McDonalds restaurant in Swanley, Kent, days before he kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard, a disciplinary panel found.

She also lied about her actions when questioned.

Her behaviour was found to have amounted to gross misconduct and she is now banned from serving in any police force again.

Wayne Couzens indecent exposure court case
Wayne Couzens (Met Police)

The tribunal heard she attended the restaurant on March 3 and interviewed manager Sam Taylor hours before 33-year-old marketing executive Ms Everard was kidnapped by the former firearms officer in Clapham, south-west London.

She claimed she believed CCTV at the restaurant was deleted automatically so there would be no footage of Couzens or the offence.

In his evidence, Mr Taylor said that he had shown Ms Lee CCTV footage and told her it could be downloaded on to a USB stick.

He also said that he explained to her that Couzens’ registration plate could be seen in the CCTV footage of the second incident.

For her part, Ms Lee denied that this was the case, saying that he had told her that there was no CCTV.

Ms Lee told BBC Newsnight some of the abusive messages say she should have been the one kidnapped and murdered and that she felt she was being “blamed completely” for the killing.

Some of them have been reported to police.

She told the broadcaster: “I think I’m seen as this horrendous, awful person that has let an absolutely heinous crime take place. And I’m being looked at as if I’m just as guilty as what Couzens is.

“But literally, there was nothing that I could have done that would have changed the outcome.

“I don’t want any sympathy at all. All I want is people just to understand that there is nothing that I could have done.

“It’s been a case of let’s go in at the bottom rather than going up higher at the top.

“The only person that should be blamed for that awful, awful, horrendous crime should be Wayne Couzens.”

After the ruling she said she had been made a “scapegoat” and says she feels she has been “thrown under the bus”.

She said at the time: “I am a young female Pc and I am the only person who has faced any disciplinary action in relation to this.

“There is only one person who is responsible for everything that happened and that is Wayne Couzens.

“I have never lied.”

In March, Couzens was sentenced to 19 months in prison after admitting three counts of indecent exposure, including flashing at the McDonalds restaurant on February 14 and 27 2021.

He was already serving life behind bars for kidnapping Ms Everard as she walked home through Clapham, south London, on March 3 2021 and then murdering her.

The third indecent exposure incident related to when Couzens exposed himself to a female cyclist on a Kent country lane in November 2020.