Most of us didn’t know Sarah Everard this time last week. The 33-year-old went missing on Wednesday, March 3 during the walk she must have done a hundred times back to her home in Brixton Hill.
Nine days later, we all know Everard – or at least the details that have been released so far: that she is a Durham alumni who moved to south London after graduation; that she works in marketing; that family members saw her as a happy, fit and healthy young woman who’d given them no reason to suspect anything was wrong in the weeks before her disappearance.
It is the familiarity of these facts that are a large part of the reason Everard’s story – and news that a serving police officer has been charged with her murder- seems to have struck a chord with so many. “Can’t stop thinking about her” has become a common catchphrase surrounding the marketing executive’s disappearance – and for good reason.
For many women, the details of Everard’s story have been a chilling reminder of the fear in the back of their head every time they’re walking alone. Many live nearby or in the streets around the Common where Everard left her friend. Many have walked Everard’s route between Clapham and Brixton countless times in the past. For others, the postcode makes no difference. What does is the story’s reminder of that common fear-factor of walking alone and in the dark, listening out for footsteps or slow-driving cars.
There is a lot we still don’t know about Everard’s disappearance and death but Everard’s loved ones have been central in helping to piece together what we do. Her family from York joined the search and released posters and photographs. Her boyfriend, who spoke to her on the phone just minutes before she went missing, was named as fellow Brixton resident and marketing director Josh Lowth. This is what there is to know…
Who was Sarah Everard?
Popular, beautiful, strong and incredibly kind. These are just some of the words and phrases used to describe the 33-year-old by family and friends over the last week and a half.
The marketing executive grew up in York where she attended nearby comprehensive Fulford School. Her old headmaster Steve Lewis this week called Everard a “popular and well-liked member of our community”, and “a lovely, bright, intelligent girl who shone within the school.”
Everard later studied human geography at St Cuthbert’s College at Durham University from 2005 to 2008 before moving to London and starting work as a marketing account manager. Like many graduates, she chose to live in Brixton, a popular flatshare hotspot among young professionals. Pictures show her holding a medal in running kit, a popular activity on nearby Clapham Common, and she was photographed wearing orange On running shoes and green Bluetooth headphones on the evening she went missing.
Where did she work?
Everard worked at several marketing and PR agencies since moving to London, graduating from senior account manager to group account director between 2009 and 2020, according to LinkedIn.
Last month, she started a new job at Flipside Group, a digital media agency based in Holborn. On her LinkedIn profile, Everard describes herself as a “positive presence” with a “caring attitude for [her] work and team” and friends say she had been looking forward to starting the new position.
Who was Sarah Everard’s boyfriend?
Everard’s boyfriend has been part of the story from the beginning. When details of her disappearance were released last weekend, police confirmed that she had made a 15-minute phone call to her boyfriend after leaving her friend by Clapham Common. They ended the call after arranging to meet. He raised the alarm to police the next day when his girlfriend failed to turn up (CCTV from an estate agent on the corner of the street where she lives showed no sign of her passing and returning to her flat).
Everard’s boyfriend has been named as Josh Lowth, 33, a marketing director at a company that organises trade shows called MA Exhibitions, according to his LinkedIn page. According to loved ones, Lowth lives just a couple of streets from Everard in Brixton.
Like many of Everard’s friends, Lowth has been front and centre of the search to find her. On Monday, The Sun shared a screenshot of his Facebook status urging people to share the post about his girlfriend. “Today, more than ever, we miss our strong, beautiful friend,” he wrote alongside the hashtag #internationalwomensday and an illustration from artist Charlie Mackesy begging people to join the search. He also changed his profile picture to the words ‘Find Sarah Everard’.
What about her family?
Everard’s parents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles were all part of the search and are said to be naturally “distraught”.
Her father Jeremy, 67, is a professor of electronics at York University, and her mother Sue, 64, works in charity. They live in York, where Everard grew up, and are understood to have travelled to London since their daughter’s disappearance. Everard’s two older siblings Katie and James are also believed to be helping in the search and are said to be “shocked and stunned” by the arrest of a police officer in the investigation, according to their uncle, Nick Everard.
The same uncle on Wednesday said it was “unbelievable” that a serving police officer has been arrested in connection with her disappearance. He had previously said that he feared she had been abducted by “bad people” but has been left shattered by the news that a serving police officer was arrested. “It’s difficult to get your head round,” he told the Standard, adding that he had no idea if his niece had known the officer who is now being questioned by detectives.
What about her friends?
Like Lowth, Everard’s friends have been at the epicentre of the hunt for the missing marketing executive, changing their profile pictures to ‘Find Sarah Everard’ and calling their friend “beautiful” and “strong”.
Earlier in the evening Everard disappeared she had visited a friend in Leathwaite Road – a tree-lined street with multi-million pound properties on the edge of Clapham Common. She is believed to have a large circle of friends in the area, a popular postcode among Durham graduates.
A former course-mate Rose Woollard told BBC news she had spoken to Everard earlier that day and she was “fine”. “We talked about how boring our days have been. I think she was dealing with lockdown like we all are.”
Woollard also told the BBC that Everard had called her every day when her own mother passed away. “She’s really caring, thoughtful and never has a bad word to say about anyone ever,” she said, adding that Everard “has always been an exceptional friend, dropping everything to be there to support her friends, whenever they need her.”
What is the latest?
On Thursday, the family of Sarah Everard paid tribute to her as a “shining example to us all”.
In a statement released on their behalf by the Metropolitan Police, the 33-year-old marketing executive’s family said she was “bright and beautiful”.
They said: “Our beautiful daughter Sarah was taken from us and we are appealing for any information that will help to solve this terrible crime.
“Sarah was bright and beautiful – a wonderful daughter and sister. She was kind and thoughtful, caring and dependable. She always put others first and had the most amazing sense of humour.
“She was strong and principled and a shining example to us all. We are very proud of her and she brought so much joy to our lives.
“We would like to thank our friends and family for all their support during this awful time and we would especially like to thank Sarah’s friends who are working tirelessly to help.”