The Telegraph 2024-02-29 16:30:27


Wayne Couzens sexually assaulted a child, report reveals

Wayne Couzens sexually assaulted a child, attempted to kidnap a woman at knife point and was reported to police eight times for exposing himself in the years before he kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard, a damning inquiry has found.

The former Metropolitan Police officer had a long history of sexual offending dating back to 1995 but was never arrested or prosecuted and was able to pass police vetting and become an armed officer with both the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) and the Met.

A long awaited report by Dame Elish Angiolini into Couzens, published on Thursday, said there was a “lamentable and repeated failure” to deal with allegations reported to police before Ms Everard’s murder in south London in March 2021.

She said there were “major red flags and missed opportunities to halt Wayne Couzens’ career and bring him to justice”.

Dame Elish has made 16 recommendations to bring about necessary changes in policing, saying that “without significant overhaul, there is nothing to stop another Wayne Couzens operating in plain sight”.

In her 347-page report, she revealed how Couzens’ first interactions with police dated back to 1995 when he allegedly tried to kidnap a woman at knifepoint in north London.

The incident was reported to police the same day but the perpetrator was never caught.

The woman came forward to police after seeing photographs of Couzens following his arrest for the murder of Ms Everard.

The report also reveals how when he was in his early 20s, in the mid-1990s, Couzens was suspected of committing a “very serious sexual assault of a child barely in her teens”.

The sexual assault provided an “important link in the chain of events” leading up to the murder of Ms Everard a quarter of a century later, the report said.

Couzens was also accused of possessing indecent images of children, and in 2004 exposed himself at a teenage girl in south London by driving past her while masturbating.

The offence was not reported at the time but the woman later came forward when she recognised Couzens in the media.

Rape allegations and assaults

At some point between late 2006 and early 2007 Couzens is suspected of attempting to rape a woman at a singles night at a bar in east London. The victim again came forward after the murder of Ms Everard.

There was another allegation of rape in October 2019 which took place under a bridge in London.

In the summer of 2019, Couzens also sexually assaulted a man in a bar in Kent.

The complainant was in drag and wearing a blond wig when Couzens grabbed him inappropriately.

When the victim remonstrated with him, Couzens said he was a police officer and invited him outside to perform a sex act.

The man also came forward to police following Couzens’ arrest for the murder of Ms Everard.

Indecent exposures

There were also a string of allegations of indecent exposures, some of which were reported to police but not fully investigated.

In November 2008 Couzens exposed himself to a woman in south London and while the offence was reported at the time no suspect was identified.

In 2015, while working for the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, Couzens again exposed himself but despite the victims providing police with his car registration, he was never arrested or charged.

The inquiry concluded that the failure to investigate this offence fully was a “red flag and a missed opportunity to disrupt or even prevent further offending by Couzens”.

Sarah Everard’s murder

Ms Everard was 33 when she vanished in Clapham, south-west London, on the way home from a friend’s house.

She was abducted by Couzens at 9.30 on the evening of March 3 2021 after he stopped her on the street, showed her his warrant card and handcuffed her. Couzens used his status as a police officer to trick Ms Everard into thinking she could have been arrested for breaking lockdown rules in place at the time.

After putting her in the back of a white Vauxhall he had rented, he drove to a remote location in Sibertswold, Kent and some point around midnight, raped her.

At 2am Couzens was seen on CCTV buying a drink from a petrol station. At some stage in the previous hour, he was believed to have strangled Ms Everard using his police issue belt.

After murdering her, Couzens hides her body in woodland near Ashford in Kent.

Police criticised for ‘apathetic’ investigations

Following the murder of Ms Everard, Couzens pleaded guilty to three further indecent exposures including two offences committed at a branch of McDonald’s in Swanley, Kent, just days before her death.

Dame Elish said the investigations into these offences had been of “poor quality and inadequate”, with the officers displaying an “apathy and disinterest”.

She all future reports of indecent exposure “must be thoroughly and comprehensively investigated”.

She went on: “Furthermore, victims need to be encouraged to report and believe they have no reason for shame or embarrassment. These emotions should be left to the perpetrators to experience.”

The report also identified a string of other potential red flags that police should have been spotted in the years before the murder of Ms Everard.

In 2013 when he was working as a firearms officer with the CNC, Couzens was reported missing for several hours.

The report said: “Couzens could have been driving around looking for a victim, in the same way as he did almost eight years later on the evening he abducted Sarah Everard and on other dates leading up to his crime.”

On the night of Ms Everard’s abduction Couzens drove from his home in Deal to London. Three days earlier he had booked a white Vauxhall Astra from a car hire firm in Dover, Kent, using his personal details and bank card.

The report concluded that his unexplained disappearance in the 2013 case should have been considered a warning sign when he was being vetted to join the Metropolitan Police.

In addition there were vetting failures when Couzens applied to join both the CNC and the Met.

He managed to mask his desperate financial state and the fact he was so in debt that he had entered an Individual Voluntary Arrangement in order to avoid bankruptcy, which would have prevented him joining the police.

The inquiry also heard evidence of Couzens sending indecent images of his genitalia to women who were selling female clothing online.

He was also a regular user of dating sites and made telephone calls to escorts, although there was no evidence he visited them.

There were also instances of self-harm, including Couzens deliberately drilling his finger resulting in him being signed off work for three weeks.

Before being accepted into the CNC, Couzens was a volunteer with the Kent Special Constabulary.

The report said: “Despite the favourable light in which Couzens was generally perceived by witnesses from Kent Special Constabulary and the absence of any suggestion that he behaved badly towards women while on duty, the inquiry concludes and is satisfied that, by the time Couzens resigned from the Kent Special Constabulary, he already had a history of abusive and potentially criminal sexual activity.” 

Presenting her findings, Dame Elish said: “The evidence seen by the inquiry has shown that failures in recruitment and vetting meant Couzens was able to continue a policing career which should have been denied to him.

“Failures investigations into allegations of indecent exposure meant opportunities to disrupt Couzens’ offending and bring his policing career to a halt were missed.

“The fact remains three separate police forces allowed him the privilege of being a police officer when they could and should have stopped him.”

Responding to the report, Ms Everard’s parents, Sue and Jeremy, and siblings, Katie and James Everard, said in a statement: “It is obvious Wayne Couzens should never have been a police officer. Whilst holding a position of trust in reality he was a serial sex offender.

“Warning signs were overlooked throughout his career and opportunities to confront him were missed.

“We believe Sarah died because he was a police officer – she would never have got into a stranger’s car.”

The family also called for all the recommendations to be made forthwith, adding: “We cannot get Sarah back, but positive changes give hope for the future and will be of benefit to others.”

Information Commissioner John Edwards, who contributed to the inquiry, said: “This inquiry paints a concerning picture of how disciplinary concerns about police officers and recruits are shared. There is no room to hide behind misconceptions of the law on such an important matter: data protection law does not stand in the way of police sharing information about a potential recruit’s previous disciplinary action or warnings, nor does it act as a shield against investigations into police officers.

“There is a need for greater transparency here. The public have a right to understand how information will be shared to encourage trust in high standards of policing, and police officers have a right to understand how their information will be shared.”

“We’ll continue working with the police to make sure data protection law, and the data sharing it allows, is clearly understood and works to serve and protect the best interests of the people of the UK.”

License this content

Putin threatens Nato with nuclear war if it sends troops to Ukraine

Vladimir Putin has threatened to strike Nato countries with nuclear weapons if the alliance sends troops to Ukraine…

License this content

Father of teenager who murdered Brianna Ghey jailed after exposing himself to girls

The father of one of the murderers of Brianna Ghey has been jailed after exposing himself to two 16-year-old girls four days before his son’s trial began.

Kyle Ratcliffe – the 36-year-old father of Eddie Ratcliffe, who is serving life along with his accomplice Scarlett Jenkinson, both 16, for the murder of Brianna, a transgender teenager – was given a 15-month sentence on Thursday.

Ratcliffe, who appeared at Manchester Crown Court via videolink from custody at HMP Forest Bank, Salford, admitted two offences of exposure last November involving two 16-year-old girls at a bus stop. 

The offences were committed on Nov 22. His son’s murder trial, at the same court, began on Nov 27.

Ratcliffe, from Leigh, Greater Manchester, also pleaded guilty to making an indecent image of a child by taking a mobile phone video of a prepubescent girl taking off her swimsuit at a public swimming pool in Cheshire.

In mitigation, his barrister referred to the conviction and said it was “unrealistic to divorce his offending from what has befallen his family in the past 12 months”.

After Eddie Ratcliffe and Scarlett Jenkinson were convicted, Brianna’s mother, Esther Ghey, called for “empathy and compassion” for their families because “they too have lost a child” and “must live the rest of their lives knowing what their child has done”.

An order preventing reporting that Ratcliffe is the father of one of Brianna’s killers was lifted by Judge Potter. Ratcliffe spoke only to confirm his name and enter his guilty pleas.

The court heard that Ratcliffe was sitting in his Maserati car when he exposed himself to the two teenage girls at 7.45am on Nov 22. The girls were about to board the bus when Ratcliffe made eye contact and one of them saw that his trousers were past his knees, exposing his genitals.

She told her friend and the teenagers “laughed it off”, but the same thing happened the following morning when both girls saw the defendant’s genitals. One of them took his registration number, before they contacted their parents and the police.

In relation to the indecent image, the judge said Ratcliffe had filmed a young girl aged between 12 and 16 undressing at a swimming pool and had stored the image on his phone in a folder marked “Stuff”.

Police also found that his phone contained internet searches for indecent images of schoolgirls indulging in explicit sexual activity.

Ratcliffe has two previous convictions for indecent exposure, and had been ordered to undergo a rehabilitation programme to address his interest in young girls.

In 2008, he was given a suspended prison sentence for exposure for masturbating in his car towards a girl aged 16. In 2012, he was given a three-year community order for exposure after being seen masturbating behind the wheel of his vehicle while at a red light.

Judge Potter told Ratcliffe it was clear that he had “a sexual attraction to female children”, adding: “I do not take from my mind the circumstances of the proceedings which led to the conviction of one of your children for murder, but they cannot provide any excuse whatsoever for your behaviour.

“The truth is that you made a deliberate decision to behave in this abusive, risk-taking way, creating the potential for harm to others.”

Mark Friend, defending, had argued that it was “impossible to divorce” Ratcliffe’s case from the effect of his son’s trial.

He said: “I do not seek to engender sympathy, because he is entirely the author of his own misfortune. We do not know the motivation for his offending but it is unrealistic to divorce it from what has befallen his family in the last 12 months and the seriousness of his son’s conviction.

“He has played his own part in that misery and left his wife and other two children to deal with those burdens alone.”

Eddie Ratcliffe and Jenkinson were jailed for life earlier this month, with minimum terms of 20 and 22 years set respectively.

License this content

How Wayne Couzens offended in plain sight for decades before murdering Sarah Everard

Wayne Couzens served in three police forces before he murdered Sarah Everard and was sentenced to die in prison.

Concerns were raised about his behaviour at numerous stages both before and during his time as a police officer.

Now, an inquiry has found the former Metropolitan Police officer attempted to kidnap a woman at knifepoint, was suspected of sexually assaulting a child, and exposed himself to members of the public multiple times in the years before he kidnapped, raped and killed Miss Everard.

Here is a timeline, for the first time, outlining the scale of his offending and the numerous missed opportunities to stop him.

1990s

While he was in his early 20s Couzens is suspected of committing a “very serious sexual assault of a child barely in her teens”.

1995 

Couzens kidnaps a woman at knifepoint in North London. The incident was reported to police on the day but the perpetrator was never caught. The woman came forward to police after seeing photographs of Couzens following his arrest for the murder of Miss Everard.

2002

Couzens joins the Kent Special Constabulary.

Summer 2004

Allegation Couzens masturbated in front of a teenage girl in South London while driving. The Met Police was made aware of the offence in March 2021, after Miss Everard’s murder.

2006/07 

Couzens is suspected of raping a woman at a singles night at a bar in east London. The victim came forward after the murder of Miss Everard.

Nov 21 2008

Couzens exposed himself to a woman in south London and while the offence was reported at the time no suspect was identified.

June 9 2015

Kent Police allegedly fails to investigate an indecent exposure incident linked to Couzens. A member of the public informed the force a man had driven past him in Dover wearing no clothing from the waist down.

September 2018

Couzens transfers to the Metropolitan Police Service, from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary where he had worked since 2011.

October 2019 

Allegation of rape in October 2019 which took place under a bridge in London.

2019

Couzens sexually assaulted a man in a bar in Kent. The complainant was in drag and wearing a blonde wig when Couzens grabbed him inappropriately. When the victim remonstrated with him, Couzens said he was a police officer and invited him outside to perform a sex act.

2019

Couzens and his wife buy a small area of woodland off Fridd Lane in Ashford, Kent.

February 2019

The PC joins a response team covering the Bromley area of south London, having initially served in a Safer Neighbourhood Team.

February 2020

He moves to the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command to patrol diplomatic premises, mainly embassies.

Nov 13 2020

He steps out of a woodland area in Deal, Kent, naked and masturbates as a woman cycles past.

Between Jan 22 and Feb 1 2021 

Couzens exposes himself to a female employee at a drive-through restaurant in Kent.

Between Jan 30 and Feb 6 2021 

He exposed himself to another female employee at a drive-through.

Feb 3 2021 

Another indecent exposure incident.

Feb 14 and Feb 27 2021 

Couzens again exposes himself to two female staff members at a drive-through fast food restaurant in Kent. He used his own credit card to pay and was driving his own car.

Feb 28 2021

Couzens books a white Vauxhall Crossland from a car hire firm in Dover, Kent, using his personal details and bank card.

March 2 2021: 7pm 

Couzens starts a 12-hour shift at his base in West Brompton, west London.

March 3 2021

Then-Met Pc Samantha Lee goes to the fast food restaurant but does not trace Couzens’ car, despite the restaurant manager claiming his registration number is visible in CCTV footage. She is later sacked and barred from working as a police officer.

March 3 2021 

Later that evening Couzens uses his status as a police officer to trick Miss Everard into thinking she can be arrested for breaking lockdown rules in place at the time. After murdering her, Couzens hides her body in woodland near Ashford in Kent.

March 9 2021

Couzen’s phone is wiped of all data about 40 minutes before he is arrested on suspicion of murder. In a brief interview, he tells a false story about being threatened by an Eastern European gang.

July 9 2021

Couzens pleads guilty to murder when he appears at the Old Bailey by video link from Belmarsh high-security jail.

Sept 30 2021

Couzens receives a whole life order when he is sentenced, with Lord Justice Fulford justifying the punishment because the murderer’s use of his position as a police officer to detain Ms Everard was the “vital factor”.

October 2021

Couzens applies for leave to appeal against his sentence.

November 2021

The Home Office establishes an independent inquiry led by Dame Elish Angiolini to look at Ms Everard’s murder, with the first part focusing on Couzens and whether any potential risks or red flags were missed during his time in the police.

March 2022

Couzens is charged with four counts of indecent exposure over alleged incidents in January and February 2021.

July 2022

The Court of Appeal rejects his appeal against his sentence.

Feb 13 2023

Couzens pleads guilty to three counts of indecent exposure in Kent between November 2020 and February 2021.

March 6 2023

He is sentenced to 19 months for the offences, although he is already serving a whole life jail term for Miss Everard’s murder and will never be released.

March 21 2023

The Casey Review, commissioned by the Met in the wake of Miss Everard’s murder, finds that the force is institutionally racist, homophobic and misogynist, and that there may be more officers like Couzens and rapist David Carrick in its ranks.

May 2023

Watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct calls for a national system to ensure all forces are told about criminal allegations made against serving officers, in light of the indecent exposure accusations against Couzens.

Feb 29 2024

A report on the first part of the Angiolini Inquiry, looking at incidents during his career and whether red flags were missed, is published.

License this content

Ultra-processed foods linked to more than 30 illnesses

Ultra-processed foods (UPFs) are linked to 32 different health issues, a study suggests.

Fizzy drinks, ready meals and sugary cereal have become a staple of the British diet and make up more than half of some people’s daily calorie consumption.

The category is broad and includes anything that could not be made in a domestic kitchen with the definition being food made from “industrial formulations”.

A study of 45 different analyses including almost 10 million participants found that consumption of UPFs is linked to health issues including cancer risk, high blood pressure, anxiety, asthma and Type 2 diabetes.

The study found evidence that higher ultra-processed food intake was associated with about a 50 per cent increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and about a 50 per cent higher risk of anxiety and common mental disorders.

Data came from a range of sources including questionnaires and asking people what they ate in the last 24 hours.

Each link between UPFs and a health condition was graded and ranked, and the scientists from Deakin University in Australia, who conducted the study, have called for “urgent mechanistic research and public health actions” to cut down consumption of these foods by the general public.

Unconnected scientists from the University of São Paulo wrote in an accompanying editorial, also published in the BMJ, that labels on packaging, advertising limits and banning sales of UPFs near schools should be implemented.

The authors of the editorial also called on the United Nations to bring countries together and create a way for UPFs to be treated in a similar way to tobacco.

However, some scientists have criticised the paper and also doubted the assertion that UPFs are intrinsically bad.

Most of the links between the foods and health conditions in the study are of weak strength, with only diabetes, obesity, prostate cancer and all cause mortality having a “moderate” quality rating.

Reliably measuring UPF intake is difficult, as recollections of diet can be extremely flawed.

Gunter Kuhnle, a professor of nutrition and food science at Reading University, said that some of the claims in the study are confusing and exaggerated.

“My worry with the paper is that fairly weak evidence is pushed in a way to make it seem that urgent action is required, when in reality a large number of nutrition scientists (including the Government’s advisory panel) do not think that urgent action is required,” Prof Kuhnle said.

“There is a small group of scientists and publicists who push a narrative of extreme risk, which is not really supported by the evidence – and I don’t think they consider the consequences.

“When people [abandon] diet soft drinks for the “full fat” version because of what they heard about sweeteners, they are at much higher risk of obesity and diabetes.”

Dr Duane Mellor, a dietitian and senior lecturer at Aston University, said the statistical methodology of the study leaves it open to flaws, and “the findings of this analysis might not represent what the real effect actually is”.

“The results reported in this paper could be a significant over- or underestimate of what the true associated link between ultra-processed foods and health might be.”

But Dr Daisy Coyle, a dietician at the George Institute for Global Health in London, said the study “highlights a troubling reality” about the risks of UPFs.

“The statistics are staggering – these foods may double your risk of dying from heart disease or from developing a mental health disorder,” she said.


Recommended
Ultra-processed foods are harming our health – here’s everything you need to know


Read more

License this content

Hairy Bikers chef Dave Myers dies aged 66

Dave Myers, the TV chef best known as one half of the Hairy Bikers, has died at the age of 66, according to a statement on social media from Si King, his co-star.

Myers found fame alongside King, his friend of 30 years, as part of the motorcycle-riding cooking duo.

He gained new fans in 2013 when he took part in Strictly Come Dancing, partnered with Karen Hauer, reaching week seven of the BBC competition.

In May 2022, Myers, who was born in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, announced that he was receiving treatment for cancer but did not specify which type he had been diagnosed with.

The statement from King said: “ I’m afraid I bear some sad news. Most of you will know Dave has been fighting cancer for the past couple of years.

“Last night, on Feb 28 2024, with Lili, Dave’s wife, his family, close friend David and myself by his side, he passed away peacefully at home.

“All who knew Dave are devastated at his passing. His beloved wife brought him such happiness, as did her children, Iza and Sergiu, who Dave loved like his own.

“Personally, I am not sure I can put into words on how I feel at the moment. My best friend is on a journey that, for now, I can’t follow.

“I will miss him every day, and the bond and friendship we shared over half a lifetime. I wish you Godspeed brother; you are and will remain a beacon in this world. See you on the other side. Love ya.”

King also shared his thanks to fans who shared messages of support in recent times, and asked that Myers’ family and close friends be given time to process the loss.

Myers started his working life as a make-up artist and first met King in 1995 while working on a TV drama called The Gambling Man.

Their first TV appearance together was The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook in 2004, which was part cooking show and part travel programme. In the first episode, the duo rode the length of Portugal.

Subsequent shows included The Hairy Bikers Ride Again, The Hairy Bikers’ Food Tour Of Britain, The Hairy Bikers: Mums Know Best, The Hairy Bikers’ Cook Off and Hairy Bikers: Best of British. They published more than 25 cookery books.

The pair documented their weight loss in Hairy Dieters: How To Love Food And Lose Weight, when they embarked on a campaign to lose two-and-a-half stone in three months, comfortably meeting their target.

In January 2014, they launched The Hairy Bikers Diet Club, which included recipes and tips to help people to live a healthier life.

Charlotte Moore, the BBC’s chief content officer, said: “Everyone at the BBC is incredibly sad to hear this news. Dave made cooking a truly joyful adventure, and he shared that joy with millions.

“The public loved him and his unique partnership with Si. Together, they made every viewer feel like a friend. More than that, he was simply a lovely man. Our thoughts go out to his family and many friends.”

‘The world is a less bright place’

Myers and King are currently on TV in the BBC Two series The Hairy Bikers Go West, which started earlier this month. In the show, they travel down the west coast from Scotland to Devon.

The flag on the Town Hall in Dave Myers hometown of Barrow-in-Furness was flown at half mast today to commemorate the TV chef’s death and relentless promotion of the town.

Sam Plum, the chief executive of Westmorland and Furness council, said: “Everyone at Westmorland and Furness Council has been saddened to learn of the death of Dave Myers. He was a tireless advocate for Barrow, Furness and the wider area and did immense good showcasing the many fantastic aspects of our area nationally and internationally.

“His easy embodiment of the strength of community of his hometown was evident in everything he did and his support of events, groups and charities locally was much appreciated by many.

“The world is a less bright place after his passing and we would like to extend our sympathies to Dave’s family and friends.

“The flag at Barrow Town Hall has been lowered to half-mast today as a mark of our respect and we will be discussing in the days and weeks to come how we can more permanently commemorate Dave’s legacy.”

James Martin, the TV chef, said he was “lost for words”, describing Myers as “a very special man”.

Robson Green, the actor known as Geordie Keating on the TV series Grantchester, said Myers’s “heart and soul inspired all who knew him”, as he remembered his late friend who met King on the set of Catherine Cookson’s The Gambling Man, which starred Green.

Alongside a series of photos of the TV chef posted to Instagram, the actor wrote: “David’s warm smile, hearty laugh, and genuine love for people were not just the ingredients of his success but a reflection of his zest for life.

“His presence brightened our screens and his heart and soul inspired all who knew him and many others to embrace the simple pleasures of sharing a meal with loved ones.

“May his spirit continue to live on in the hearts of all who had the privilege and honour of being in his presence.

“RIP David Myers. All my love to you @‌hairybikers Simon at this incredibly challenging time.”

‘Terrible, heartbreaking loss’

TV chef Andi Oliver said she was “so sad” to hear that Myers had died and that her “heart goes out” to his family and his co-star King.

Gok Wan, TV presenter and stylist, described it as a “terrible and heartbreaking loss” as he also sent his support to Myers’ loved ones.

Radio presenter Bob Harris said he was “very sad to hear this news” while singer Alfie Boe sent his “love and sympathy” to Myers’ family and friends.

Across his career, Myers co-presented a host of cooking-travelogue shows and specials for the BBC alongside his friend King.

The official BBC Food account also hailed Myers as a “wonderful man and a very talented chef” as they paid tribute.

While The Hairy Bikers’ publishers Orion Books remembered Myers as “brilliantly inspiring and kind”.

“We are devastated to hear of Dave Myers’ passing and send our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends”, they said in a statement.

“We are immensely proud to have published the Hairy Bikers for over 14 years and will truly miss Dave’s infectious energy and passion for food and travel.

“There was never a dull moment working with Dave, and all who were lucky enough to do so will attest to what a brilliantly inspiring and kind and hardworking man he was.

“This is a huge loss, and all our love goes out to Si, Lil and Dave’s wider family at this time.”

License this content

‘I’m a nice, very good-looking white boy from Chelsea,’ stabbing suspect tells court

The son of a wealthy art collector has appeared in court charged with attempted murder after allegedly stabbing a maid at his family’s £20 million London home.

Maximillian Bourne, 25, an IT consultant, is accused of stabbing Joselia Pereira Do Nascimento on Feb 25.

The alleged incident occurred at the five-bedroom house in Justice Walk, Chelsea, where Mr Bourne lives with his mother Sylvia, a celebrated art collector and philanthropist, and father Graham, a property developer.

After being arrested he was charged with attempted murder and appeared at Westminster magistrates’ court earlier this week, where he was remanded in custody until next month.

Appearing in the dock wearing a grey prison tracksuit, Mr Bourne, who is the great, great grandson of Epitácio Pessoa, the former Brazilian president, told the court: “I’m a nice, very good-looking white boy from Chelsea.”

He was not asked to enter or indicate a plea during the brief hearing and was remanded into custody until March 26 when he is next due to appear before a judge at the Old Bailey.

The alleged victim, who was described as a “live-in maid” at the property, was rushed to hospital in a critical condition after suffering multiple injuries.

Kalsoom Shah, prosecuting, told the hearing: “The defendant faces a charge of attempted murder. The victim was critical, but her injuries are now not life-threatening.”

Ms Shah said the alleged victim was expected to spend at least a week in hospital being treated for her injuries that were mainly to her face and back.

The alleged incident occurred on Sunday evening at the 18th-century family home, known as The Courthouse, where prisoners were once tried for crimes including highway robbery.

The Bournes bought the property when it was near derelict for £2.8 million. It was valued 10 years ago at £14.5 million but is now thought to be worth in excess of £20 million.

Mr Bourne went to university in the United States.

License this content