Police officer arrested on suspicion of murder over former Durham student Sarah Everard disappearance
A diplomatic protection officer held over the disappearance of former Durham University student Sarah Everard has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
The Metropolitan Police said the man, who is in his 40s and is part of the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, was being questioned over suspected kidnap and murder on Wednesday.
The squad is responsible for guarding the Parliamentary estate including Downing Street and the Palace of Westminster, as well as foreign embassies in London.
The force said that they would not specify where he had worked but the officer’s main job was uniformed patrol of diplomatic premises.
Marketing executive Ms Everard vanished while walking home from a friend’s flat in south London on Wednesday, March 3.
Two sites in Kent were being searched on Wednesday as the hunt for the missing 33-year-old continued – one of which is believed to be the suspect’s home.
Late on Tuesday, the Met Police said a serving officer from the force had been arrested as part of the investigation.
On Wednesday, the force said he had been initially arrested on suspicion of kidnap, and later murder, as well as a separate allegation of indecent exposure.
A woman in her 30s was also arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.
The police searches in Kent saw a tent erected at the front of a house in Freemens Way in Deal, where multiple cars were taken away by investigators.
Shortly later a metal fence was put up surrounding the front garden and driveway.
A neighbour in the road said a police officer lives at the address with his “chatty” wife and two children.
She said: “They just seemed like a normal, regular family, there was nothing strange about them at all.”
She added that police were digging up the garden.
Matt Mullan, 29, who also lives nearby, said: “Last night there were police cars outside all night.
“I thought this is a bit strange, not normal for round here.
“It was about 8-9pm there was heavy traffic out there and there have been police cars outside all morning.
“It’s very surprising, definitely not what you expect to see.”
The land near Ashford is a disused outdoor activity and golfing centre near the village of Great Chart.
Downing Street said Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s thoughts are with Ms Everard and her friends and family.
Speaking at Scotland Yard on Wednesday morning, Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said: “The fact that the man who has been arrested is a serving Metropolitan Police officer is both shocking and deeply disturbing.”
He said that detectives are working “at all speed” to find out what has happened to Ms Everard, and repeated appeals for members of the public to come forward with information.
The Assistant Commissioner added: “As a father myself, of four young women, I can only imagine the anguish that Sarah’s family are feeling at this very very difficult time.”
Ms Everard is thought to have walked through Clapham Common towards her house in Brixton – a journey which should have taken around 50 minutes.
She was last captured on a doorbell camera walking along the A205 Poynders Road towards Tulse Hill at around 9.30pm on March 3.