A serving Metropolitan police officer has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of Sarah Everard in south London.
The 33-year-old marketing executive went missing after leaving a friend’s house in Clapham at about 9pm on Wednesday last week.
The officer was detained at an address in Kent on Tuesday and a woman was also arrested at the same location on suspicion of assisting an offender. They have each been taken into custody at a London police station.
Everard’s family is being kept updated with developments, the force said, adding that the directorate of professional standards – the body responsible for investigating complaints against the professional conduct of officers – was aware of the case.
Assistant commissioner Nick Ephgrave said: “The arrest this evening is a serious and significant development. We will continue to work with all speed on this investigation but the fact that the arrested man is a serving Metropolitan police officer is both shocking and deeply disturbing.
“I understand there will be significant public concern but it is essential that the investigative team are given the time and space to continue their work.”
DCI Katherine Goodwin said: “This is a significant development in our inquiry. This is a fast-moving investigation and we are doing everything we can to find Sarah.
“We have seen an overwhelming response from the public and I repeat my request for anyone with information that may be relevant to come forward, no matter how insignificant it may seem.”
Everard has not been seen since she left a friend’s home in Clapham, south-west London, on the evening of 3 March to walk home by herself to Brixton, about 50 minutes away by foot.
The last known sighting of her was on Poynders Road, which links the two areas, where she was captured on film by a private door camera as she walked alone from the junction at Cavendish Road in the direction of Tulse Hill, south of Brixton.
Police put a cordon around a block of flats in south London on Tuesday near where she was last seen. The police cordon was around the Poynders Court housing estate on the north side of the road. But the Metropolitan police refused to confirm whether it was related to the search. Other officers were lifting covers and searching drains along Poynders Road.
The Met has issued new images of Everard and said the search for her is continuing “at pace”. On Tuesday two officers with sniffer dogs were seen searching outside the nearby Oaklands Estate and gardens in surrounding streets.
On Monday, searches continued in the area, with police examining a small park close to where Everard’s mobile phone signal was last registered.
Divers were searching the pond in Agnes Riley Gardens, while sniffer dogs scoured the area. Officers were also searching a housing estate close to where Everard was last seen. Missing posters asking for information on her whereabouts have been pasted on lamp-posts in a wide radius around the area.
Everard moved to London about 12 years ago. She has a brother and a sister who also live in the city. Their parents have travelled down from York to join with the search.
Timeline of key events
Wednesday 3 March: Sarah Everard, 33, a marketing executive, goes missing after leaving a friend’s house in Clapham, south London, around 9pm.
6 March: Metropolitan police raise the alarm, saying it was “totally out of character” for Everard not to be in contact with family and friends. Police release a CCTV image of her, saying she was thought to have walked through Clapham Common after leaving her friend’s flat, heading towards her home in Brixton, a journey of around 50 minutes.
7 March: Police release footage taken from a private doorbell-type camera showing Everard was walking alone along the A205 Poynders Road towards Tulse Hill, just south of Brixton. Police say it is unclear whether or not she reached her house. She was last seen wearing a green rain jacket, navy blue trousers with a white diamond pattern and turquoise and orange trainers, and was thought to have been wearing green earphones and a white beanie hat. Scotland Yard says the investigation is being led by its Specialist Crime Command because of the “complex nature” of the probe, which combines searches with house-to-house inquiries.
8 March: Scotland Yard says it remains “open minded as to all possibilities”, while confirming a missing persons investigation. Specialist officers are drafted in from across the Met. Police say they have received more than 120 calls from the public on the case and ask anyone who may have relevant dashcam or other footage to come forward.
9 March: Police use sniffer dogs to search gardens in streets around the search site near Everard’s envisaged route home and in the nearby Oaklands Estate. Officers also search a pond in Clapham Common and drains along the A205. The Met sets up a cordon around the Poynders Court housing complex on Poynders Road as part of the search, with forensics officers seen examining the area.
11.59pm, 9 March: The Met says it has arrested a police officer at an address in Kent in connection with Everard’s disappearance, with a woman arrested at the same location on suspicion of assisting an offender. The man and the woman are taken into custody. Detective Chief Inspector Katherine Goodwin says the force is still “doing everything we can to find Sarah”.