Uttlesford village lights candles in doorstep vigil for Sarah Everard

Miranda Jasper Meyer put a candle outside in Hatfield Broad Oak for Sarah Everard

Miranda Jasper Meyer put a candle outside in Hatfield Broad Oak for Sarah Everard - Credit: Miranda Jasper Meyer

Dozens of residents in Hatfield Broad Oak lit candles on their doorsteps last weekend as part of a national vigil in memory of Sarah Everard.

The marketing executive disappeared while walking home in London on March 3. Her body was found in Kent a week later.

Resident Miranda Jasper Meyer said: “I was going to attend the vigil at Clapham Common, but instead did an online vigil with Reclaim These Streets. It was a deeply moving moment.

"There was anger, sadness and a feeling of enough is enough. Something has to change. And it has to change now.”

Some said they were ‘sad’ and ‘devastated’. Others expressed their commiserations for Sarah Everard’s family.  

One woman said: “I shall be lighting my candle for all women.” 

R4U Councillor Louise Pepper.

R4U Councillor Louise Pepper. - Credit: Archant

R4U District Councillor for Great Dunmow North, Louise Pepper, who is also portfolio holder for equalities, said: "I thought the doorstep vigils in the area were a lovely idea.

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"That is doing it in a safe environment. You are still showing your solidarity, but you are doing it from the safety of your own home. I think this still sends a strong message.

"As cabinet members, we want to make sure female residents are feeling safe in the district. Women feel they should have the same choices as men, they shouldn't feel intimidated."

Cllr Pepper added: "I am really supportive of the anti female violence message, but I also don't think the protests in London should have happened because people weren't socially distancing. We must do what we can during the pandemic to keep safe. Covid cases are going up again.

"Police are in a very difficult role."

A spokesperson for Essex Police said: "Our thoughts are very much with her family and friends at this very difficult time."

Ahead of the vigil, Essex Police asked everyone to consider "suitable ways" to pay their respects that are safe and law abiding. 

They asked residents to remember coronavirus restrictions are still in force. That means arranging and taking part in large gatherings is unlawful, as ruled by the High Court of Justice.

Kemi Badenoch MP said: "Like many across the country, I am deeply shocked and saddened by the developments in this case. My thoughts continue to be with Sarah's family and loved ones at this devastating time."

Mrs Badenoch said a new tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy has been brought forward later this year, and Government has reopened a call for evidence to collect views. It will now remain open until March 26.

Serving Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, of Deal, Kent, will face trial in October, charged with the kidnap and murder of Ms Everard.