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Kidnapped, slain British woman has Jamaican heritage


Sarah Everard, the 33-year-old British woman whose kidnap and murder have triggered outrage and protests in London demanding action on the burning issue of violence against women, has Jamaican heritage.

Her grandmother, Pamela, was born in Jamaica and had migrated to England where, working as nurse, she met her husband Ken Everard.

The family lineage was explained to the Jamaica Observer yesterday by Sarah Everard’s cousin, Captain Marlene Smith, a former Air Jamaica pilot for 21 years who, for the past nine years, has been flying for Spirit Airlines where she is also an instructor and check airman.

Captain Smith, who lives in Florida, remembered her cousin as “a very lovely, beautiful and talented young lady”.

“She was very jovial, had a great sense of humour and was just loving and caring and was always putting people first,” Smith told the Observer, adding that she had been to the Everard family home in York on a number of occasions in the past.

Asked if Everard had ever visited Jamaica, Smith said she was not sure; however, she knows that Everard loved to travel.

Everard, a marketing executive, was last seen on closed-circuit television (CCTV) walking alone on a street, but she never made it home. Police report that she was on her way home from a friend’s flat in south London on the evening of March 3.

“They last saw her at 9:30 pm on CCTV camera. She was on the phone talking to her boyfriend and then she disappeared,” Captain Smith said yesterday.

Last Wednesday, a police officer in London’s parliamentary and diplomatic protection branch was arrested on suspicion of murder. News reports out of England said he was originally detained late last Tuesday in Kent on suspicion of kidnapping, and was also being held on a separate allegation of indecent exposure.

The policeman, in his 40s, is still in custody at a police station in London, the Metropolitan Police has said, adding that a woman in her 30s was also arrested last Tuesday on suspicion of assisting an offender and remains in custody as part of the investigation.

“They found her body at an unused golf course nearby where he lives in Kent, which is about an hour from where she was abducted,” Captain Stewart said yesterday.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick is reported as saying the arrest had “sent shockwaves and anger through the public and through the Met”.

“I speak on behalf of all my colleagues when I say that we are utterly appalled at this dreadful, dreadful news,” she added. “Our job is to patrol the streets and to protect people.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a statement he recognised people would be “shocked and worried” by the developments.

“I know how concerned the public will be at the news that a serving police officer has been arrested, and it is right that the case has been referred to the police watchdog for independent investigation,” Khan said.

Yesterday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson voiced support for Commissioner Dick following outrage over her officers’ handling of a vigil for Everard on the weekend.

According to an Agence France Presse ( AFP) report, Johnson said he still had full confidence in the police commissioner but supported the internal and independent reviews launched into how officers handled the gathering on Saturday.

Dick has faced calls to resign after police scuffled with the predominantly female crowd and physically restrained demonstrators, arresting four people.

Hundreds had assembled throughout Saturday, including Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, to pay tribute to Everard.

Yesterday, Captain Stewart said the family has been devastated by the crime.

“This is so heart-wrenching because they have arrested a Metropolitan police officer. It’s been very distressing.”

— Additional reporting AFP

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