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Sarah Everard’s murderer kidnapped her using police ID and handcuffs

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Wayne Couzens, the former police officer who has admitted to the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard, used his police identification and handcuffs to deceive her into getting into his car under the pretense that she had violated Covid-19 regulations, prosecutors said Wednesday at a London sentencing hearing.

He later used his police belt to strangle and kill Everard, prosecutor Tom Little told the Old Bailey — the central criminal court of England and Wales. Little summarized Couzens’ actions as “deception, kidnap, rape, strangulation, fire.” Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, went missing on the evening of March 3 after leaving a friend’s house in Clapham, south London. Her remains were found days later in woodland near Ashford, Kent — more than 50 miles from where she was last seen.

Couzens was later arrested at his home in Kent, close to where Everard’s body was found. Prosecutors said in July that Everard and Couzens “were total strangers to each other” before he abducted her from the roadside.

On Wednesday, prosecutor Little said Couzens lured Everard into a rental car by falsely arresting her for Covid-19 violations, “handcuffing her as well as showing her his warrant card.”Little also detailed what eyewitnesses to the kidnapping saw, saying they observed Couzens handcuff Everard, who appeared compliant and had her head down. They thought he was an undercover police officer arresting a woman.

Prosecutors believe Everard died around 2.30 a.m. on March 4, several hours after she was kidnapped by Couzens. “The defendant informed the psychiatrist that he strangled Sarah Everard using his belt. Given all the circumstances this would be consistent with his police belt,” Little said.They believe this happened prior to 2.34 a.m., which was when Couzens went to a petrol station and “bought two bottles of water, an apple juice, a Lucozade Orange and a carrier bag,” Little said. “There is no CCTV from the petrol station at the relevant time due to a system upgrade having taken place. However the defendant was not to have known that and to have left her alive (even in the boot of the Seat) would have been foolhardy,” Little said.

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‘Google’ is most searched word on Bing, Google says

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The top entry on Microsoft’s Bing search engine is for its rival Google, Google has said.

The claim was made in court, as Google made its case to appeal against a €4.3bn ($5bn) fine from the European Union for abusing its market power.

The EU accused Google of using Android’s success in the smartphone market to make Google the default search engine.

But Google says its service is simply the most popular.

“We have submitted evidence showing that the most common search query on Bing is, by far, ‘Google’,” lawyer Alfonso Lamadrid told the EU General Court, as first reported by Bloomberg. “People use Google because they choose to, not because they are forced to.

“Google’s market share in general search is consistent with consumer surveys showing that 95% of users prefer Google to rival search engines.”

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Rapid house price growth continues in September

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Annual house price growth of 10% or more has been recorded for each of the past five months, according to data from the Nationwide.

The UK’s largest building society said that prices in September were up 10% compared with a year earlier, a slight slowdown from 11% in August.

The double-digit rise was driven by recent activity in Wales and Northern Ireland, the lender said, with London still seeing the slowest growth.

The typical home now costs £248,742.

Rapidly rising house prices continues to create financial problems for potential first-time buyers, despite record low mortgage rates being offered by lenders.

A recent report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that people in tourist hotspots – which have become increasingly popular for relocating buyers – were at risk of being priced out of buying a home in the areas where they worked.

Nationwide bases its house price estimates on its mortgage data, and Robert Gardner, the building society’s chief economist, said that property values had continued to rise more quickly than earnings, which meant affordability was becoming more stretched.

“Raising a deposit remains the main barrier for most prospective first-time buyers. A 20% deposit on a typical first-time buyer home is now around 113% of gross income – a record high,” he said.

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Fuel diverted from large firms to forecourts in UK to ease crisis

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Fuel is being diverted from large firms in the UK to garage forecourts in a move that could threaten to disrupt online deliveries, The Telegraph reported on Wednesday.

UK government officials have instructed executives running Britain’s network of fuel terminals to send tankers heading for large companies to garages and service stations instead, the newspaper said https://bit.ly/3kSWTL6, citing industry sources.

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