The human remains found by police searching for Sarah Everard have been confirmed as hers, Scotland Yard has announced.

On Wednesday night, Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said unidentified human remains had been found in an area of woodland in Ashford, in Kent, by detectives investigating Ms Everard’s disappearance.

Speaking today to reporters outside Scotland Yard, Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said the body found in woodland in Kent was that of Sarah Everard.

He said: “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.”

Nick Ephgrave said that Sarah Everard’s family had been told this “most distressing news”.

The Metropolitan Police officer accused of her murder remains in custody, he added.

On Thursday, The family of Sarah Everard have paid tribute to her as a “shining example to us all”, describing her as a daughter and sister who “brought so much joy to our lives”.

Her 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.”