Compensation and Apology: London Police Settle with Women Detained at Vigil for Sarah Everard

Remembering Sarah Everard

In a solemn tribute to Sarah Everard, who fell victim to a horrifying crime at the hands of a serving police officer, the London police force has taken a significant step toward rectifying the injustices of the past.

Compensation and Apology

As a gesture of remorse and responsibility, the London police force has issued a heartfelt apology and paid ‘substantial damages’ to two women who were detained during the vigil held in memory of Sarah Everard.

The Tragic Story of Sarah Everard

Sarah Everard, a marketing executive, was tragically abducted on her way home from work in London in March 2021. Her lifeless body was discovered 30 days later, approximately 50 miles (80 kilometers) away, in a woodland.

Outrage and Vigil

The revelation that Wayne Couzens, a serving police officer, had been arrested in connection with Everard’s heinous crime ignited a wave of anger and protest. Hundreds of individuals, primarily women, gathered at Clapham Common, near the spot where Everard was last seen, just three days after her body had been found.

Detention of Dania Al-Obeid and Patsy Stevenson

During the vigil, tensions escalated, leading to the handcuffing of Dania Al-Obeid and Patsy Stevenson by police officers. The authorities cited the refusal of the crowd to disperse and alleged violations of COVID-19 lockdown rules.

Global Criticism

The restraint and force used by the police on Patsy Stevenson, documented in thousands of photographs, received global attention and widespread condemnation for what many saw as heavy-handed policing tactics.

A Resolution Achieved

According to Bindmans, the legal firm representing the two women, the Metropolitan Police has now settled the women’s civil claims, providing compensation and extending a formal apology.

Patsy Stevenson’s Response

Patsy Stevenson expressed her sentiments in a statement, acknowledging that the decision took over two years to reach: “Despite the exhaustion and difficulty of the process, it has felt important to hold a vigil to express my anger and grief over Sarah Everard’s murder by a serving Metropolitan Police officer. I and all women who attended the vigil felt it was important to push for some form of justice and accountability.”

Metropolitan Police’s Perspective

The Metropolitan Police defended their officers’ actions during the vigil, stating that they acted in good faith and under extraordinary circumstances. A spokesperson emphasized, “We recognize that complainants who have already suffered significant distress as a result of this incident have no interest in a protracted legal dispute. A settlement was the most appropriate course of action to minimize the ongoing impact on all parties involved.”

Post-Incident Scrutiny

In recent years, the London police force has faced multiple scandals, including the tragic murder of Sarah Everard and the events surrounding the subsequent vigil. These events ultimately led to the resignation of former chief Cressida Dick. An independent report, conducted weeks after the vigil, concluded that the police had acted appropriately.


As London continues to grapple with the legacy of this tragic incident, the compensation and apology offered by the Metropolitan Police represent a step towards healing and accountability. This episode serves as a reminder of the importance of addressing systemic issues within law enforcement and striving for a just and compassionate society.

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