Thu. Apr 18th, 2024
alert-–-wayne-couzens-could-keep-taxpayer-funded-pension:-‘complex-legal-issues’-mean-government-is-struggling-to-strip-sarah-everard’s-killer-of-4,000-a-year-payout-he-earned-while-working-at-civil-nuclear-constabularyAlert – Wayne Couzens could KEEP taxpayer-funded pension: ‘Complex legal issues’ mean Government is struggling to strip Sarah Everard’s killer of £4,000-a-year payout he earned while working at Civil Nuclear Constabulary

Wayne Couzens could keep a taxpayer-funded pension worth £4,000-a-year because of ‘complex legal issues’.  

Sarah Everard ‘s killer will currently benefit from the public sector pension payout he earned while working at the Civil Nuclear Constabulary.

The 51-year-old worked for the CNC for seven-and-a-half years before joining the Metropolitan police in 2018.

The murder and rapist had his Met Police pension stripped in January last year and Number 10 are now backing calls for this second pension to be taken away as well.

Following his conviction in March last year, the CNC recommended Couzens’ pension entitlements be forfeited, but it has not been confirmed that this has happened. 

Furthermore, it may not be possible for the benefit to be taken away at all under the current rules, something which the Government is trying to change in an ongoing legal battle. 

Wayne Couzens will currently benefit from the public sector pension payout he earned while working at the Civil Nuclear Constabulary

Wayne Couzens will currently benefit from the public sector pension payout he earned while working at the Civil Nuclear Constabulary

Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, was raped and killed by Metropolitan Police officer Couzens, who was off duty, as she walked home in south London on March 3, 2021

Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, was raped and killed by Metropolitan Police officer Couzens, who was off duty, as she walked home in south London on March 3, 2021

The Telegraph reports that the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), the administrator of its pensions scheme, is yet to confirm the pension has been stripped.

READ MORE: James Cleverly accused of ‘hiding behind the murder of Sarah Everard’ by publishing details of Home Office fiascos

It has also emerged that plans to withhold his pension are subject to an ongoing battle between government lawyers and the UKAEA, with no timeframe set out for when this will be resolved.

Therefore, Couzens remains eligible to start drawing on his pension from the age of 60 and can take out a lump sum of up to £12,000.

He is also able to start drawing a reduced rate early, at 55, in just four years.

Ms Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, was raped and killed by Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, who was off duty, as she walked home in south London on March 3, 2021.

He used his status as a police officer to trick Ms Everard into thinking he could arrest her for breaking lockdown rules in place at the time.

An inquiry chaired by Lady Elish Angiolini said last week that Couzens should never have been given a job as a police officer and chances to stop the sexual predator were repeatedly ignored and missed.

Conservative and Labour MPs have called on the Government to do everything possible to block access to his payout.

The precise nature of the barriers preventing the pension being withheld are unknown, but the rules of the UKAEA pension scheme state that only ‘an offence in connection with any employment to which this scheme applies’ can justify the forfeiture of a pension.

This is alongside the breaking of the Official Secrets Act and treason.

Couzens remains eligible to start drawing on his pension from the age of 60 and can take out a lump sum of up to £12,000

Couzens remains eligible to start drawing on his pension from the age of 60 and can take out a lump sum of up to £12,000

The government may be forced to change the law to take away his pension, which would not be ‘straightforward’.

Matthew Swynnerton, a pensions lawyer at City law firm DLA Piper, said the question would focus on ‘whether the offence that Wayne Couzens has been convicted of has been in connection with his role as a public servant at the CNC’.

Claire Coutinho, the current secretary of state for energy security and net zero will now face the decision on how to overcome this legal hurdle.

This is something he described as a ‘grey area’, but also admitted the changing of pension law was not unachievable due to the ‘public sentiment that will drive it along’.

Officers pay in 8 per cent of their earnings into the ‘gold-plated’ public sector pension and their employer makes contributions of almost 21 per cent.

The pension pays out one-eightieth of an officer’s final salary annually for each year of ‘reckonable’ service.

Couzens is thought to have been paid a salary of up to £43,000 when he transferred to the Met in 2018, having worked for the CNC since 2011.

The UKAEA and the CNC was approached for comment.