Calls for curb on internet pornography after sentencing of Sarah Everard's killer

(Photo: Unsplash/Christian Wiediger)

Christian campaign group CARE says government ministers must urgently curb access to internet pornography in the wake of the Sarah Everard case.

Wayne Couzens was handed a whole-life sentence on Thursday for the horrific kidnap, rape and murder of the 33-year-old in a case that has shocked Britain. 

At the Old Bailey this week, evidence from a former colleague told of "his attraction to brutal sexual pornography". 

Another former associate who served with Couzens in the Territorial Army revealed further details about his penchant for pornography in an interview with the Daily Mail earlier this year.

"It was weird that on the first occasion that I met him that he was pointing out his porn interest on the internet – I didn't really need to know that, it was pretty unwanted. All I can remember is I went round to his flat and he started showing me, 'this is a great website for porn'. He had quite an interest in pornography," the person said. 

CARE has been campaigning for the government to introduce tighter restrictions on internet pornography, including age verification to protect children, and penalties for sites hosting extreme content. The government abandoned the plans in 2019. 

CARE CEO Nola Leach said Couzens' crimes showed where pornography can lead. 

"We worked on legislation – Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act – that would have punished sites that host extreme content and blocked access to pornography by children," she said.

"These vital measures were supported by women's groups, child safety campaigners and endorsed by parliament. But Ministers delayed implementation for two years and, in 2019, they scrapped Part 3.

"The case of Wayne Couzens is an unspeakably awful example of what porn obsession can lead to – brutal sexual violence in the offline world. Couzens enacted what he had seen dramatized on screen in videos that are easily accessible to any person with the click of a button.

"If we want to avoid more 'Couzens' in the years ahead, the government must stop men accessing content online that glorifies rape and violence, and fuels deeply sinister ideas about women. They must curb the porn industry and stop children accessing porn sites."

The call follows the publication of research by the government last year which identified a link between porn consumption and violence against women and girls. 

"The majority of Frontline workers spontaneously mentioned pornography as an influential factor for harmful sexual behaviours towards women and girls," the report found. 

It added, "It was clear that the potential influence of pornography, especially when playing a role in conjunction with other factors, was a source of considerable concern for Frontline Workers.

"It was evident from the interviews that there was a widespread belief in the need to address the role that pornography plays, as part of the approach to minimising harmful sexual behaviours towards women."