The Metropolitan Police officer who murdered Sarah Everard worked as a guard at the Houses of Parliament, the force has confirmed.
Scotland Yard said Wayne Couzens was deployed to armed static protection duties on the parliamentary estate on five occasions from February to July last year.
Previously, the Met refused to go into detail about Couzen’s posting at Westminster, according to The Times. But his role was confirmed following inquiries by Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons speaker.
The force said Couzens moved to the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command in February 2020 and his primary role was to patrol diplomatic premises, mainly embassies.
A senior parliamentary source told The Times they believed the Met had “deliberately tried to mislead the parliamentary authorities by claiming Couzens did not have a parliamentary pass [issued under his own name]”.
Couzens, 48, was nicknamed “the rapist” by colleagues. He was said in court to have been “attracted to brutal sexual pornography” as far back as 2002.
The police watchdog previously said he was linked to a flashing incident in 2015 and two more incidents just days before he killed Ms Everard.
He used his warrant card to falsely arrest Ms Everard before he abducted, raped and murdered her.
A senior parliamentary source told The Times Couzens was granted an access-all-areas pass while working at the Houses of Parliament.
The revelation has sparked outrage among MPs. Labour MP Rosie Duffield said: “It’s chilling that someone whose nickname was ‘the rapist’ was guarding MPs when we are told that we are protected by a ring of steel.
“Knowing now that we had a murderer in our midst, I’m sure all women working in parliament will want to see a thorough security review.”
Mr Hoyle said: “Like everyone, I have been sickened by the depravity of Wayne Couzens – and heartbroken for the family of Sarah Everard.
“I have asked the Met to meet me urgently to discuss how this person could have been deemed suitable for deployment here.
“Further, I will be seeking reassurance that at no time was anyone on the parliamentary estate put at risk.”
Additional reporting by PA