The former Metropolitan Police officer seized his victim whilst she was walking home from a friend’s house, on March 3, in Clapham.
He had just completed a shift guarding the US embassy as an armed officer.
After being shown Couzens’s police warrant card Ms Everard was handcuffed, and driven to Kent in a Vauxhall Astra car that had been hired for this purpose.
Near Tilmanstone she was raped and strangled by Couzens, then her body burned.
On March 9 Couzens was arrested at his home in Deal, Kent, on suspicion of kidnapping.
He initially claimed a gang of East Europeans forced him to kidnap women after he underpaid a prostitute, though this was quickly disproved by police.
Ms Everard’s remains were discovered by police inside a large builder’s bag on March 10 in Hoad’s Wood, near some land Couzens owned.
On June 8 Couzens pleaded guilty to kidnap and rape, followed by the murder charge on July 9.
His defence lawyer, Jim Sturman, said his client is “filled with self-loathing, abject shame and remorse” over his actions.
He added: “He was invited to look at the Everards. He could not I am told. He is ashamed.
“What he has done is terrible. He deserves a very lengthy finite term but he did all he could after he was arrested to minimise the wicked harm that he did.
“Nothing I say today is at all intended to minimise the horror of what the defendant did that night and after. He makes no excuses for his actions, he accepts he will receive, and he deserves, a severe punishment.”
At the Old Bailey Ms Everard’s family spoke emotionally about her loss.
Susan Everard, her mother, said: “Sarah died in horrendous circumstances. I am tormented at the thought of what she endured.
“I play it out in my mind. I go through the terrible sequence of events. I wonder when she realized she was in mortal danger; I wonder what her murderer said to her.
“When he strangled her, for how long was she conscious, knowing she would die? It is torture to think of it. Sarah was handcuffed.”
Her father added: “Sarah was handcuffed and unable to defend herself. This preys on my mind all the time.”
Ahead of the start of the two-day sentencing, Scotland Yard released a statement which read: “We are sickened, angered and devastated by this man’s crimes which betray everything we stand for.
“Our thoughts are with Sarah’s family and her many friends. It is not possible for us to imagine what they are going through.
“We recognise his actions raise many questions and concerns but we will not be commenting further until the hearing is complete.”
Friends of Ms Everard, who grew up near York, have spoken movingly about her kindness and decency.
Speaking to the BBC Rose Woollard, a friend from university, commented: “Sarah has always been an exceptional friend, dropping everything to be there to support her friends, whenever they need her.
“It was only recently that she was telling me the good news about her new role, which she was excited to start.”
Another friend added: “She was sunshine and light, and made you feel warm and good and safe.
“I feel angry about it as well, but my main anger is that it happened to her.”
An ex-colleague said: “Sometimes you meet a person with a beautiful soul and it shines through.
“There is nothing anyone can say that will make things better for her family and loved ones. They must be in hell.
“I can only say that Sarah was a very special person and will be missed by so many.”