WAYNE Couzens remains set to die behind bars after an attempt to have his whole life sentence was rejected.

The police officer kidnapped Sarah Everard by arresting her before raping and murdering her in March 2021.

A rare whole-life order was passed down to Couzens which he tried to appeal.

Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett, heard the case at the Court of Appeal along with four other senior bid who found the initial sentence was appropriate.

In a judgement passed on Friday, Lord Burnett said: “The issue at the heart of the appeal, is whether this murder, with its unique features, justified the judge’s overall conclusion that it merited a whole life order. We have concluded that it does, albeit we would, with respect, arrive at this conclusion by a different route from the judge.”

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He added: “This was, as the judge said, warped, selfish and brutal offending, which was both sexual and homicidal.

“It was a case with unique and extreme aggravating features. Chief amongst these, as the judge correctly identified, was the grotesque misuse by Couzens of his position as a police officer, with all that connoted, to facilitate Ms Everard’s kidnap, rape and murder.

“We agree with the observations of the judge about the unique position of the police, the critical importance of their role and the critical trust that the public repose in them.”

A whole-life order is exceptionally rare in English law, but the judge said the seriousness of the offence was “so exceptionally high” that there was “no doubt” the sentence was appropriate.

“We consider this to be the correct route to a just result in this case,” he added.

“It provides for its unique and defining feature, which was that Couzens had used his knowledge and status as a police office to perpetrate his appalling crimes against Ms Everard and for the extensive and extreme nature of the other aggravating features which were present: the significant and cold-blooded planning and pre-meditation; the abduction of Ms Everard; the most serious sexual conduct; the mental and physical suffering inflicted on Ms Everard before her death; and the concealment and attempts to destroy Ms Everard’s body.”

Couzens’ lawyers had unsuccessfully argued he had deserved decades in jail.

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In May, senior judges heard challenges or appeals to the prison sentences of five convicted killers, including the whole-life terms of former police officer Couzens and double murderer Ian Stewart.

Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes, who killed six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, also had their sentences reviewed, along with triple murderer Jordan Monaghan.

Tustin’s sentence remained unchanged but Hughes’ was increased after being found unduly lenient.

Stewart’s sentence was reduced from a whole-life order to a life sentence with a 35-year minimum term.

Everard’s murder sparked national outcry and the outrage over Couzens serving as a police officer despite outstanding concerns about his conduct having been raised contributed to the resignation earlier this year of Met Commissioner Cressida Dick.

Couzens is separately charged with four separate counts of indecent exposure related to incidents in January and February 2021. He denies the charges.