Kate Middleton defies police orders
Kate Middleton has paid tribute to Sarah Everard today at Clapham Common as she "remembers what it's like to walk in London alone."
The Duchess of Cambridge was among tearful mourners who gathered at the spot the 33-year-old was last seen as vigils were cancelled across the UK.
A Palace source said today: "The Duchess wanted to pay her respects to Sarah and her family.
"She remembers what it felt like to walk around London at night before she got married."
Kate, 38, attended the site in Clapham Common on a private visit and laid flowers from the garden at Kensington, it's understood.
A further 31 vigils for Sarah Everard were also due to take place at 6pm in cities across the UK - including Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham, Belfast and Cardiff.
But the Met Police moved to ban the event due to COVID restrictions with other forces following suit.
Campaign group Reclaim These Streets mounted a High Court challenge on Thursday but a judge upheld the police's decision to block the event - forcing organisers to cancel vigils across the UK.
Despite the ban, a small, socially-distanced group lay flowers at the bandstand in Clapham Common this afternoon in moving scenes.
Some mourners were seen in tears as they gathered to pay tribute to the marketing manager, who vanished on March 3.
There was also police present in London as people paid their respects, as her alleged killer Wayne Couzens today appeared in court.
The 33-year-old's remains were found on March 11 - nine days after her disappearance as she walked back to her Brixton home from a friend's house in Clapham, South London.
At about 9pm she left the property in Leathwaite Road through a back gate onto the A205 South Circular and began walking to her home in Brixton.
She is thought to have walked across Clapham Common.
Today's vigils come after Reclaim the Streets slammed the police after revealing they were threatened with a £10,000 ($AU17,928) fine under COVID laws if the events went ahead.
They also accused cops of being "unwilling to engage" and are now urging people to "shine a light" in a doorstep vigil at 9.30pm.
The campaign group said it would be joining people across the country and "shining a light - a candle, a torch, a phone - to remember Sarah Everard and all the women affected by and lost to violence".
A fundraising page they launched has already raised more than £240,000 ($AU430,293) for women's charities.
The Met Police today said they take "no joy"in the cancellation but insisted it was the "right thing to do".
And other police forces confirmed they were cancelled events across the UK.
Greater Manchester Police said they were "shocked and saddened" about Sarah's death but warned "gathering in large groups is still unlawful".
Merseyside Police thanked organisers for postponing a vigil due to be held in Liverpool city centre tonight.
In a tweet, the force said: "We would like to thank the organisers of the Reclaim These Streets vigil for postponing their event until a time when it is safe and legal to do so without fear of attributing to potential spread of the coronavirus."
But some people say they are still planning to attend the vigil for tragic Sarah, who vanished last Wednesday as she walked home.
Sarah's death has prompted an outpouring of grief from the public, with many women and girls sharing stories online of experiencing violence by men.
The vigils were designed to show that women should feel safe no matter the time of day.
Sarah's family on Thursday paid tribute to their "bright and beautiful daughter and sister".
In a statement, Sarah's family 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."
Meanwhile, Wayne Couzens, 48, today appeared in court charged on suspicion of her murder and kidnap.
Speaking to reporters outside Scotland Yard, Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said Met Police were determined to get justice for Sarah after finding the body hidden in woodlands in Ashford, Kent.
He said this week: "As you know, on Wednesday evening detectives investigating the disappearance of Sarah Everard discovered a body secreted in woodland in Kent.
"The body has now been recovered and formal identification procedure has now been undertaken. I can now confirm that it is the body of Sarah Everard."
He confirmed Sarah's family had been given the "distressing" update.
The gun cop, who joined the Met Police in 2018, appeared in the dock in person at Westminster Magistrates' Court this morning.
Flanked by two police officers, Couzens sat with his head in his hands while wearing a grey jumper. He appeared to have a red wound on the top of his forehead.
This post originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission
Originally published as Kate Middleton defies police orders