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Sarah Everard vigil: People asked to ‘shine a light’ on their doorsteps tonight after Sarah Everard vigils cancelled

Written by on 13 March 2021

A vigil for Sarah Everard in Clapham this evening has been cancelled following discussions with police, with organisers instead encouraging people to shine a light on their doorstep at 9.30pm today.

And a fundraising page set up by the Reclaim These Streets group has raised more than £115,000.

Speaking to Sky News, Reclaim These Streets co-organiser Caitlin Prowle said: “We are asking all of our supporters in London, and also beyond, to hold a candle or a light in their doorstep or in their streets at 9:30pm this evening to remember Sarah Everard, and also all the other women that we’ve lost to violence so tragically.”

Flowers left at the bandstand on Clapham Common, after a body found hidden in woodland in Kent has been identified as that of 33-year-old Sarah Everard. A serving Metropolitan Police officer, who is aged in his 40s, remains in custody on suspicion of kidnapping and murdering the marketing executive and detectives have been granted more time to question him. Picture date: Friday March 12, 2021. Image: Flowers have been left at the Clapham Common bandstand, not far from where Sarah Everard went missing

And in a later statement, the group said it would join others in “shining a light – a candle, a torch, a phone – to remember Sarah Everard and all the women affected by and lost to violence”.

Earlier, Reclaim These Streets tweeted: “We are sorry to confirm that our Clapham vigil scheduled for tonight is cancelled.”

They added: “Instead, we are fundraising £320,000 for women’s causes: £10K for every proposed fine for the 32 vigils originally scheduled.”

In the statement they said: “We have been very disappointed that given the many opportunities to engage with organisers constructively, the Metropolitan Police have been unwilling to commit to anything.

“It remains our view that with the appropriate mutually agreed measures in place, this evening’s vigil on Clapham Common would have been safe and in line with restrictions and safety regulations.”

The Metropolitan Police released a statement, in which Commander Catherine Roper said that they “have shared Londoners anguish, shock and sadness at the truly awful circumstances of her disappearance and death.”

Before the discussions with police concluded, several people said they would go to Clapham Common today to commemorate Ms Everard regardless of the outcome – but this is now being advised against by Reclaim These Streets.

Their statement added: “As the event has now been cancelled, we would strongly encourage people not to gather this evening on Clapham Common.

“Despite the court judgement, the feedback from police is that doing so may place yourself legally at risk.”

Instead of tonight’s event, organisers said that a virtual gathering would be arranged.

Ms Prowle said: “The physical event has been stopped, but we are very much still forging ahead with plans online and through social media and we still want people to get involved with that, if possible.”

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Flowers laid to remember Sarah Everard

In the statement from the capital’s police, Commander Roper said: “We take no joy in this event being cancelled, but it is the right thing to do given the real and present threat of COVID-19.

“Throughout the week we have had a number of talks with the organisers of the vigil.

“These talks have undoubtedly been challenging and officers have worked hard to explain the regulations and why gatherings such as this cannot go ahead at this time.”

Yesterday it was announced that a serving Metropolitan Police officer had been charged with kidnapping and murdering Ms Everard, who went missing in south London last week.

Wayne Couzens appeared before Westminster Magistrates’ Court this morning.

The 48-year-old was taken to hospital on Friday for a second time in 48 hours for treatment on a fresh head injury sustained in custody.

A Met Police spokesman said: “He was being monitored by officers and received immediate first aid. He was discharged the same day and returned to custody.”

Couzens was previously treated in hospital for a separate head wound on Thursday, which was sustained in custody when he was alone in his cell.

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Police announce man charged in Everard case

Meanwhile, a woman in her 30s who was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender has been released on bail.

She is due to return to a police station in mid-April.