Sarah Everard’s death made more headlines ‘because she was white, middle-class and beautiful’

One of the UK's most prestigious former judges has said Sarah Everard's death has gained more prominence than other murders because she was white and beautiful.

Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens used his police-issue handcuffs and warrant card to stage a fake arrest so he could kidnap 33-year-old Ms Everard before he raped and murdered her.

Baroness Hale of Richmond, the former president of the Supreme Court, described the killing as an “awful, awful case”.

She said: "If you practised law in the 1970s in the north of England, you would inevitably have encountered story after story of police officers abusing their position with women.

“It is not a new phenomenon.

“What is new in recent weeks is the prominence given to a really, really horrible story and perhaps exacerbated by the fact that it was a young, beautiful, middle-class white woman, whereas all those women who’ve had equally horrible experiences haven’t had the prominence.

“But it’s good if it’s getting prominence, that’s very important and I don’t mind why it’s getting prominence, as long as it is.”

There have been widespread demands for the resignation of Met Police chief Dame Cressida Dick amid calls for action to restore the confidence of women in policing.

Baroness Hale said violence against women and girls at the hands of police officers has gone on for many years. But she refused to back calls for the Met chief to resign, saying it would not be “appropriate” for her to comment publicly.

Speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, Lady Hale added: “If I had a view, I wouldn’t express it in company. I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to be expressing any view about what should happen.”

She went on: “The only view I would express about that awful, awful case is that."

This week it was revealed almost 2,000 police workers have been accused of sexual misconduct in the past four years.

The allegations – which include accusations of rape and offences against children – are spread across 39 forces and were made against officers, special constables and PCSOs.

A freedom of information request found 370 allegations of assault, nearly 100 of rape and 18 of child sex offences.

Lady Hale became president of the Supreme Court in 2017 and rose to national attention when she delivered the unanimous judgment of the court that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks two years ago was unlawful.

She retired last year.