How did they find the strength to sit in that courtroom and listen to the horrifying details of her final hours?
How did they steel themselves to try and voice the indescribable agony of their loss?
And how did Sarah Everard’s father manage to address her cowering killer with such control and dignity?
“Mr Couzens, please look at me,” said Jeremy Everard. Then he gazed into the same pair of eyes that his daughter must have searched for some flicker of humanity before killer cop Wayne Couzens strangled her.
Many in court at the Old Bailey this week wept as Jeremy, his wife Susan and Sarah’s older sister Katie gave victim impact statements from the depths of their broken hearts.
I cried after hearing how her mother treasures Sarah’s dressing gown as “it still smells of her and I hug that instead of her”.
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Then I went to my drawer and got out the woolly hat my Mum wore after losing her hair from chemo – and which kept her warm as she died aged 57.
After 30 years it no longer smells of her but it’s still a huge comfort – and a reminder to me that she died peacefully and pain free, surrounded by love.
Yet Sarah’s mum has no such comfort.
“There is no consoling thought in the way she died,” said Susan.
“The thought of it is unbearable. I am haunted by the horror of it.”
Some in the legal system have questioned whether post-conviction impact statements serve any real purpose.
They may give victims a voice and a sense of closure but are judges actually influenced by them when passing sentence?
They certainly haven’t deterred attackers – and the endless tide of violence against women and girls shames the entire criminal justice system.
The fact that Couzens was a serving officer added a new level of horror to this crime. And learning that he could have been caught on multiple occasions before murdering Sarah has further eroded trust in the police.
Since her killing a further 80 women have died at the hands of men – and tens of thousands more have been victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence and harassment.
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So it is time for the Met and other police forces nationwide to take a long, hard look at themselves.
They must listen to victims’ voices, address the culture of violence and work out how to catch these brutal predators before they strike.
And as cowering Couzens begins his whole-life sentence, they should reflect on every agonising detail of this case and of Sarah’s family’s statements. Because the life sentence THEY are left to serve must make a lasting impact.