Met pays damages to women arrested at Sarah Everard vigil

The Met has paid “substantial damages” to two women who were arrested at a vigil for murdered Sarah Everard in March 2021.

Patsy Stevenson and Dania Al-Obeid took legal action against the force over their arrests at the protest in Clapham during Covid restrictions.

In a statement released today, the Met said the settlement was “the most appropriate decision, to minimise the ongoing impact on all involved”.

Ms Everard, 33, from Brixton, was on her way home from seeing a friend in the Battersea Rise area when she was kidnapped and murdered by serving Met officer Wayne Couzens. 

A vigil was to be held near to where she went missing in Poynders Road, Clapham, in March last year.

People leave floral tributes at the bandstand in Clapham Common (Picture: PA)

The event was originally organised by campaign group Reclaim These Streets (RTS) near to where the 33-year-old went missing, following the public outcry after Ms Everard’s disappearance.

The vigil was also intended to be a protest against violence towards women and girls.

But the four organisers withdrew from the event before it went ahead after they said police had told them it would be an illegal gathering under lockdown restrictions, and that they faced fines of £10,000 each.

Thousands of people then attended a spontaneous vigil, where the Met were widely criticised for their policing of the event.

Last year, RTS brought legal action, with two High Court judges ruling in March that the Met breached its rights and its actions were “not in accordance with the law”.

A spokesman from the Met said: “The Clapham Common 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 actions of individual officers were found by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies to have been appropriate.

“They acted in good faith, interpreting complex and changing legislation in very challenging circumstances in a way that was entirely consistent with their colleagues working across London at the time. 

“A protracted legal dispute is not in the interests of any party, least of all the complainants who we recognise have already experienced significant distress as a result of this incident.”

Pictured top: People gathered at the vigil for Sarah Everard in 2021 (Picture: PA)

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