The past year has seen some sickening crimes committed in Kent.
The nation has held vigils in memory of two women who were walking home alone and never made it to their destination.
Another crime was described as “devastating, tragic and wholly brutal” and so exceptional that it warranted a whole-life order.
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As a new year begins, we’ve taken a look back at the crimes which have sent shockwaves not only throughout the county, but also the nation over the last 12 months.
Sarah Everard, 33, left a friend’s house in Clapham at around 9pm on March 3 and set off on a walk to Brixton.
She was speaking to her boyfriend on the phone in a call which lasted around 15 minutes – but she never made it to her destination.
Former police officer Wayne Couzens approached Sarah in his vehicle and pretended to arrest her over a breach of COVID restrictions at around 9.30pm.
Saraj was handcuffed before later being transferred to Couzens’ own car in Dover two hours later.
He then took her to a remote woodland in Ashford before raping her and then strangling her to death.
Lord Justice Fulford described the cases as “devastating, tragic and wholly brutal” and so exceptional that it warranted a whole-life order.
Couzens is currently in HMP Frankland alongside notorious murderers Ian Huntley and Levi Bellfield after pleading guilty to Sarah’s abduction, rape and murder.
Hundreds of people, including the Duchess of Cambridge, attended a vigil held at Clapham Common to pay their respects.
On November 4, David Fuller pleaded guilty to the 1987 murders of Wendy Knell, 25 and Caroline Pierce, 20, and was later given two whole-life orders.
However, that wasn’t the only revelation heard in court.
It then emerged that Fuller had sexually abused at least 100 dead women and girls in Kent hospitals between 2008 and November 2020 where he worked as an electrician.
He reportedly failed to disclose his burglary convictions when he first got the job, and again declared he had no convictions in 2002 but was finally exposed 13 years later while working as a contractor at the Tunbridge Wells hospital.
Fuller was forced to have a criminal record check in early 2015, when it emerged he had convictions for a string of burglaries.
However, he was allowed to continue working with an “access all areas” hospital swipe card.
His sickening crimes were only discovered after he was arrested for the 1987 murders in December last year.
Detectives found a box of hard drives containing a “library of unimaginable sexual depravity” during a dawn raid at the home the hoarder shared with his wife in Heathfield.
This included 100,000 images and videos he had taken of himself abusing the corpses.
Serving Kent Police PCSO, Julia James, who worked with victims of domestic abuse, was killed on April 27.
Julia James, 53, was found dead in an area near Akholt Wood, between the villages of Snowdown and Aylesham, where she had been walking her Jack Russell named Toby.
Police officers, forensic teams and search crews scoured the Kent countryside as part of their investigations into the death of the beloved mum and grandmother.
Over one thousand dog walkers across nine Kent counties set off on a walk in memory of Julia in May, with the largest walk taking place in her home village of Aylesham.
Callum Wheeler, 21, who has been charged with murdering Julia, pleaded not guilty and will be tried on May 9.
Another crime which sent left the nation shellshocked was the death of primary school teacher Sabina Nessa, 28.
She had set off on a short walk home on September 18 but never arrived.
Her body was discovered near the OneSpace community centre in Cator Park in Kidbrooke Village,a quiet part of Greenwich, on the London and Kent border.
Police believe the young woman lay undiscovered for hours, having been killed at around 8.30pm the night before.
The body of Sabina was found under a pile of leaves in a busy London park by a woman who happened to be searching for a lost necklace.
Police searched fields and woodland in Tunbridge Wells as part of their investigation into Sabina’s death, and arrests have since been made.
In a hearing at the Old Bailey on December 16, Koci Selamaj, 36, accepted responsibility for the killing of the primary school teacher, but denied murdering her.
A further hearing will take place in February of next year, with a trial date set for June 7.
Officers grew increasingly concerned over the whereabouts of a missing Sissinghurst mum last month.
Alexandra Morgan was last seen at a petrol station near Cranbrook at 7.20am on November 14, and had not been in contact with her family since.
Officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate launched a murder investigation and Mark Brown, 40, was later arrested in connection with her disappearance.
Police searched a number of locations across Hastings and Kent earlier this month in an attempt to locate Alexandra’s body.
A trial date has now been set for Mark Brown, who did not enter any pleas when he appeared at Lewes Crown Court last month.
He was remanded in custody and a provisional trail date has been set for May 9 of next year.