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Dublin: 11°C Tuesday 11 May 2021

Hundreds of women leave tributes to Sarah Everard at Clapham Common

Demonstrators also gathered in central London to protest against the police’s handling of a vigil for Everard.

featureimage Source: PA

HUNDREDS OF WOMEN have left floral tributes in the London park near to the route Sarah Everard walked before she went missing.

Throughout the day, mourners arrived from across the capital to leave flowers and cards on the bandstand at Clapham Common, south London, two days after police officers clashed with the crowds which gathered there to remember the 33-year-old marketing executive in a candlelit vigil.

Joanne Beaney, 37, who went there from north-west London with her 13-month-old daughter Kitty to lay a bouquet, said she had found the news about Everard’s death particularly upsetting as a mother.

She said: “I feel like the news about when she went missing was just so upsetting, because you just feel like it could have been any one of us.

Maybe I find it harder because I’m a mum, and I don’t know, somebody being abducted off the streets late at night… the fact that it happened is just terrifying.

Beaney said the incident has made her feel less protected by the police, adding that the reputation of the Metropolitan Police force is “quite damaged” by the way officers handled the gathering at Clapham Common on Saturday.

“Would I see police in the same way, and would I turn to a policeman when I’m feeling vulnerable, which I always would have done – would I be a bit more fearful of doing that? Maybe, yes,” she said.

embedded258625023 Sarah Everard went missing while walking home from a friend’s flat in south London. Source: Kirsty O’Connor/PA

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson backed Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick despite the “very distressing” scenes at a vigil in memory of Everard.

Johnson said the police had a “very difficult job” to do, as Scotland Yard continued to face questions over its handling of the event.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said footage of the Clapham Common event was “upsetting” but defended restrictions on protests put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus.

In a Commons statement she added that “too many” women felt unsafe in public.

Verity Mullan-Wilkinson, a 29-year-old actor from West Yorkshire, went from Hackney in east London to lay flowers and a card for Everard.

“Coming down here seemed like the right way to pay respect,” she said.

“Last week was a really hard week, a heavy week with a lot going on in the press, mixing with International Women’s Day, when you want to feel positive and strong about being a woman, and everything with Sarah was upsetting.

It’s heightened how much you spend a lot of time feeling petrified something like this would happen, and the fact that it has happened to someone feels really sad.

She added that empty streets during lockdown have made walking home alone as a woman feel “more intimidating”.

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This evening large numbers of demonstrators gathered in central London in protest at the Met’s handling of a vigil on Saturday night.

protesters Demonstrators during a protest outside New Scotland Yard. Source: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Hundreds of people blocked traffic on Westminster Bridge before moving to New Scotland Yard, shouting “shame on you”.

Police urged protesters to go home, warning that “enforcement action” would be taken.

Serving police constable Wayne Couzens, 48, was charged on Friday with kidnapping and killing Everard, who went missing while walking home from a friend’s flat in south London on 3 March.

He is being held in custody and will appear at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.

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