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Hundreds of Londoners hold vigil for Sarah Everard a year after her kidnapping

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Hundreds of Londoners held a somber candlelit vigil to commemorate Sarah Everard on the anniversary of her kidnapping.

A crowd of mainly young women and men marched through south London before laying flowers at the Clapham Common bandstand, near where the 33-year-old was kidnapped by a acting Metropolitan Police officer last year.

Two police officers also carried flowers to the scene, which became a focal point for thousands of tributes to Ms Everard last spring.

Organizer Talisker Cornford, of campaign group Urban Angels, wept as she read a poem about women’s safety before mourners held a brief silence in the darkness for Ms Everard.

A similar tribute was held outside the Kelvingrove Art Gallery in central Glasgow.

Another Urban Angels organizer, Madison Hall, 25, told the PA news agency she hoped the event would bring people together.

Miss Hall, who lives in nearby Stockwell and works in finance, said: “The purpose of the event is to give the community an opportunity to come together to commemorate all victims of gender-based violence and also to the women who have lost respect to pay tribute and remember her your life.”

Reflecting on Ms Everard’s kidnapping last year, she added: “To be honest it was quite overwhelming.

“It was strange to see anywhere that you live as a dangerous place to live.”

Housemates Shae Bampfield, 33, and Claudia Dodd, 26, attended the vigil and reflected on their own experiences in the area.

Ms Bampfield, who is from Australia and lives in Clapham, said: “For me, I’ve had close calls.

“It was over, I went home and this man asked me a question, I engaged with him which I shouldn’t have done and then he started following me.

“I said don’t follow me and ended up running away.

“I did a police report but there were no cameras so it couldn’t go anywhere.

“It just goes to show how unsafe it can be for women to be out on the streets at any time.”

When asked what changes she would like to see in terms of women’s safety, she said: “We think misogyny has to be a hate crime”.

Ms Dodd from New Zealand added: “I think as a young woman living in Clapham it resonates with us.

“We never want to forget what happened to Sarah.”

Kayli Free, 30, who laid a candle “for Sarah’s mom” with her husband Dan Free, 32, said: “I think of Sarah a lot, which is maybe weird because we didn’t know each other.

“I can’t imagine how her mother must have felt, and I wanted to remember her too.”

Earlier Thursday, Ms Everard’s family said they were “overwhelmed by the kindness” of the public in a statement released through the Metropolitan Police.

They said: “It has been a year since Sarah passed away and we remember her today as we do every day with all our love.

“Our lives have changed forever and we live with the sadness of our loss.

“Sarah was wonderful and we miss her all the time.

“Over the past year we have been overwhelmed by the kindness shown to us, not only by family and friends but also by the general public.

“We are all very grateful for their support, it meant so much to us and has comforted us through this terrible time.

“Unfortunately, Sarah is not the only woman who has recently lost her life to violent circumstances and we would like to extend our deepest sympathy to other families who are also grieving.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and the Met also released statements paying tribute to Ms Everard to celebrate a year after her disappearance.

Ms Everard, 33, was raped and killed by serving Met officer Wayne Couzens, who confronted her as she was walking home in south London on March 3, 2021.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment in September.

A non-statutory inquiry has since been launched, led by Dame Elish Angiolini, into how Couzens was able to work for three different armed forces despite concerns about his conduct as a police officer.

The Met has also commissioned a review of the culture and standards at the force, including Couzens’ former unit, the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command.

https://www.independent.ie/news/hundreds-of-londoners-hold-vigil-for-sarah-everard-one-year-after-abduction-41409649.html Hundreds of Londoners hold vigil for Sarah Everard a year after her kidnapping

Fry Electronics Team

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