The Metropolitan Police has faced intense criticism for its handling of a London vigil in memory of Sarah Everard, with officers accused of "grabbing and manhandling" women during clashes with the crowd.

People gathered in Clapham Common to pay tribute to Sarah Everard who was found dead this week.

Ms Everard went missing while walking home from a friend's flat in south London on 3 March.

Sarah Everard

Her body was found hidden in an area of woodland in Ashford, Kent, on Wednesday.

Serving Metropolitan Police constable Wayne Couzens, 48, has been charged with kidnapping and killing the 33-year-old marketing executive.

While the vigil in Clapham, south London, was largely peaceful, scuffles broke out at the front of a crowd of hundreds as police surrounded a bandstand covered in floral tributes to the 33-year-old.

At one stage, male officers could be seen grabbing hold of several women before leading them away in handcuffs, to shouts and screams from onlookers.

In response, the crowd chanted "shame on you", while during another confrontation a distressed woman could be heard telling officers "you're supposed to protect us".

An official event by Reclaim These Streets was cancelled this morning and an alternative vigil held online.

But crowds of people made their way to Clapham Common's bandstand at around 6pm this evening, with many laying flowers in what has become a growing floral tribute.

The clashes prompted a chorus of criticism from MPs, including Labour leader Keir Starmer, who described the scenes as "deeply disturbing".

British Home Secretary Priti Patel has said she has asked the Metropolitan Police Service for a "full report" on what happened tonight.

While the Clapham clashes took place, many other peaceful vigils were held around the UK in locations including Glasgow, Nottingham, Birmingham and Bristol - despite warnings over lockdown.

A virtual event was also held at 6pm in which campaigners called for more to be done to tackle violence against women.

Earlier today, the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton visited Clapham to pay her respects at the memorial.

The duchess was seen pausing in front of floral tributes that have been laid at the bandstand in Clapham Common.

The serving Metropolitan Police officer accused of murdering Ms Everard has been remanded in custody by Westminster Magistrates' Court after being charged with the kidnap and murder of the 33-year-old.

The body of Ms Everard was found inside a large builder's bag and identified using dental records, a court has heard.

Wayne Couzens, 48, has been charged with kidnapping and killing Ms Everard.

Wayne Couzens

Mr Couzens appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court this morning for his first appearance following his arrest on Tuesday.

The defendant arrived at the central London court at 10am in a large blue police van, stepping into the dock around 10.30am.

He wore a grey tracksuit and appeared to have a red wound on the top of his forehead.

Mr Couzens spoke only to confirm his name and personal details, sitting between two plain-clothes officers in the dock and leaning forward for most of the hearing.

Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring asked prosecutor Zoe Martin to give a brief summary "given the nature of the case and the interest".

The court heard the officer is accused of kidnapping Ms Everard in the Poynders Road area of Clapham.

Ms Martin said Ms Everard was reported missing by her boyfriend on 4 March.

She said that a body discovered on 10 March in a wooded area of Ashford, Kent, had been formally identified as the missing woman using dental records.

A post-mortem examination has taken place, but no cause of death was given in court.

The prosecutor said Ms Everard had visited a friend in the Clapham Junction area on 3 March and left at around 9pm to make the approximately 4km journey home.

She called her boyfriend for around 14 minutes and the court heard there has been no further activity on her mobile phone since then, adding that the phone has not yet been recovered.

It is not clear whether the phone had been switched off or run out of battery, she added.

Ms Everard was caught alone on CCTV at 9.15pm, caught again on a camera at 9.28pm, and later caught on the camera of a marked police car at 9.32pm.

At around 9.35pm, a bus camera captured two figures on Poynders Road and a white Vauxhall Astra with its hazard lights flashing.

Another bus camera captured the same car with both front doors open.

The registration of the vehicle - later confirmed to be a car hired in Dover - was captured and tracked by police as it left London towards Kent.

Judge Goldspring remanded Mr Couzens in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.

The Metropolitan Police previously said Mr Couzens joined the force in 2018, most recently serving in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, an armed unit responsible for guarding the parliamentary estate and embassies in London.

His main job was uniformed patrol of diplomatic buildings, and Scotland Yard said he was not on duty at the time of Ms Everard's disappearance.

Today, the court heard Mr Couzens is a trained firearms officer. On March 2, he began a 12-hour shift at 7pm before going on leave.

He was due back at work on 8 March, but on 5 March he reported that he was suffering from stress.

On 6 March, he emailed his supervisor to say he did not want to carry a firearm anymore.

Before his court appearance, Scotland Yard said that Mr Couzens, of Deal in Kent, was taken to hospital for a second time in 48 hours on Friday for treatment to another head injury sustained in custody, before he was discharged and returned to a police station.

He was previously treated in hospital for a separate head wound on Thursday, also sustained in custody.

Meanwhile, police were seen continuing to search around the area where Ms Everard's body was found near Ashford today.