‘I have seen a clampdown on our freedom to demand change’: Met pays £10k in damages to woman arrested at Sarah Everard vigil

The Met has agreed to pay £10,000 in damages to a woman who was arrested at the Sarah Everard vigil almost three years ago.

Jennifer Edmunds has received the payout following her arrest at the Clapham Common vigil on March 13, 2021, while mourning Ms Everard’s death days after the 33-year-old was kidnapped, raped and murdered by serving police officer Wayne Couzens.

Ms Edmunds said: “While I am relieved for this to finally be over, three years after Sarah Everard’s death, and almost three years after I was threatened with criminal charges for exercising my inalienable right to protest her murder, in that time I have also seen the state clamp down yet further on our collective freedom to assemble and demand change. 

“That’s why I have split the damages I have received in this case with pro-Palestine protesters who, like me, have also been victims of the police, but left with a much worse outcome.”

Ms Edmunds was held overnight at the police station and issued with a penalty notice – which she refused to pay – for breaching Covid regulations. She was charged and waited 15 months before the prosecution was dropped on August 8, 2022. 

Ms Edmunds – represented by Erica San, of Bhatt Murphy solicitors – sued the Met for breaches of her human rights, false imprisonment, assault, misfeasance in public office and malicious prosecution. 

Sarah Everard was kidnapped, raped and murdered by serving police officer Wayne Couzens (Picture: Family handout)

Following proceedings at the Mayor’s and City of London County Court, on February 5, the Met agreed to pay £10,000 in compensation, according to Bhatt Murphy solicitors.

Ms San said: “The fact that it has taken three years to acknowledge the wrong done to Jeni is a sign of how deeply reluctant the force is to face its pressing need for reform.”

A spokesman for the Met said: “The vigil took place in extraordinary circumstances, in the midst of a pandemic where restrictions on gatherings were in force for very valid public health reasons and in the days immediately following the most appalling murder of Sarah Everard by a serving Met officer.

“The officers involved acted in good faith, interpreting complex and changing legislation in very challenging circumstances. They acted in a way that was entirely consistent with their colleagues working across London at the time and the operational directions given by the relevant command teams.

“Their actions were found to have been appropriate and no misconduct was identified by our Professional Standards teams. The settlement that has been reached does not alter that position and the Met has no intention to revisit it.

“A protracted legal dispute was not in the interests of any party.”

Pictured top: People in the crowd turn on their phone torches in Clapham Common after the Reclaim These Streets vigil for Sarah Everard was officially cancelled (Picture: PA)

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