Dozens turn out for cancelled ‘vigil for Sarah’ at York Minster

DOZENS of people turned up for a vigil in memory of York woman Sarah Everard outside York Minster this evening – even though the event had officially been called off.

A student who gave her name as Miriam was among those standing quietly in front of the cathedral. She said she herself had been sexually assaulted in the past – as had her mum. “I know how important it is to be here,” she said.

“I was really upset this week about (what happened to Sarah). This (violence against women) has been going on too long and it isn’t getting better.”

Gillian Singer, another of those who turned up for the vigil, said: “I’m very angry.

“I have a daughter who went to Durham University and lives in Brixton – it could have been my daughter.

“I feel so angry. She (Sarah) just seems to exude kindness from what we know about her. She looked like a very caring person, and she had her whole life ahead of her.”

Another woman, who gave her name as Charmine, said she had come along to show solidarity with women across the country.

“I know there is a pandemic on, but violence against women has been going on for years,” she said.

She said she and her friend had been cat-called even when they were children in school unform. “It has been happening since we were kids,” she said. “It has happened to every single woman I know.”

The vigil had been arranged for 6pm by Reclaim These Streets, York.

It was officially called off earlier today – but the organisation said that it could not stop people from choosing to walk past the Minster this evening if they wanted to and complied with Covid regulations.

Dozens of people had gathered outside the cathedral by 6pm this evening. Police officers encouraged them to leave, and by about 6.30pm most had dispersed.

Reclaim the Streets York is asking people to post a picture of a lit candle at 9:30pm tonight with the hashtag #ReclaimTheseStreets in a further tribute to Sarah.

People can also use the hashtag to post ‘any thoughts, reflections or tributes they’d like to make to Sarah Everard and all who experience gendered violence on our streets’, the organisation added.

A planned vigil for Sarah in Clapham, south London, was also officially cancelled following a High Court ruling that it would be unlawful – but many turned up anyway.

While the event was largely peaceful, scuffles broke out at the front of a crowd of hundreds as police surrounded a bandstand covered in floral tributes to Sarah.

Home Secretary Priti Patel says she has asked for a “full report” from the Metropolitan Police after officers clashed with some of those in attendance.

Sarah, from York, went missing on March 3 after leaving a friend’s home in the Clapham area of London to walk the two-and-a-half miles home.

She was reported missing by her boyfriend on March 4.

A body discovered on March 10 in a wooded area of Ashford, Kent, has been formally identified as Sarah.

The serving Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, was today remanded in custody after his first court appearance. He is charged with kidnapping and killing the 33-year-old marketing executive.

The hedteacher of Lord Deramore’s Primary School, where Sarah went to school as a girl, today paid a touching tribute to Sarah, describing her as ‘the most perfect pupil you could ever wish for in a school’.

York Press | News