"she never made it to her destination."
Police have said that Sabina Nessa was killed as she walked to meet a friend at a pub. It is the latest tragedy in the UK’s epidemic of violence against women.
The teacher was reportedly attacked as she walked to The Depot bar in Kidbrooke Village, south-east London, from her home on Astell Road at about 8:30 pm on September 17, 2021.
A member of the public discovered Ms Nessa’s body in Cator Park the next morning.
It is believed that the 28-year-old was killed as she walked through the park.
Police launched a murder investigation and a man in his 40s was arrested on suspicion of murder. He was released under further investigation.
Detective Inspector Joe Garrity said:
“Sabina’s journey should have taken just over five minutes but she never made it to her destination.
“Our investigation is making good progress and specialist officers remain at the crime scene carrying out intensive searches and enquiries.
“We know the community are rightly shocked by this murder – as are we – and we are using every resource available to us to find the individual responsible.”
Police have appealed for any potential witnesses to come forward.
A vigil is set to be held in Ms Nessa’s memory on September 24, 2021. It has been organised by a Kidbrooke community group and is supported by Reclaim the Streets who said it was angry and heartbroken” by the killing and called on the government to do something about “an epidemic of violence unfolding in front of our eyes”.
Ms Nessa’s cousin Zubel Ahmed said the teacher was a “beautiful soul” and appealed for help to find the person responsible for the “horrific crime”.
He said her parents were “absolutely shocked” and “inconsolable still, understandably so, to hear of their daughter being taken away from them by some cowardly man”.
Describing his cousin, Mr Ahmed said:
“She’s been teaching for two years. Loves teaching, loves kids, she’s got a couple of cats at home. She was just a beautiful soul.”
Ms Nessa taught at Rushey Green Primary school.
Police said a post-mortem examination was inconclusive.
In response to the death, a community group have been handing information sheets advising women on how to stay safe at night.
It recommends women stick to busy places with good lighting.
Royal Greenwich’s Safer Spaces team has been distributing personal alarms to women.
The borough has issued over 200 alarms to women and vulnerable residents over the last two days, particularly in the Kidbrooke area.
The sheet also suggests that pedestrians should face oncoming traffic and conceal their jewellery.
Sabina Nessa’s death comes amid an epidemic of violence against women in the UK.
According to data from the Office for National Statistics and the Scottish government, more than 200 women were killed between March 2019 and 2020 in the UK.
Despite the tragedy, the incident has not received the same amount of media attention compared to similar cases like Sarah Everard, who went missing after leaving a friend’s house.
Her body was found more than 50 miles from where she was last seen.
This has prompted social media users to call for more attention to be paid to Ms Nessa’s case.
One netizen had pointed out that in one newspaper, Ms Nessa’s death was on the 25th page, calling the lack of media attention “shameful”.
Page 25 !!! This happened on Friday in London. No marches or candlelit vigils for Sabina Nessa. Shameful. pic.twitter.com/gcyU2d2033
— Kath Diggle (@kathdiggle) September 21, 2021
Another person wrote: “Her name was #SabinaNessa.
“A brilliant young woman, with her whole life ahead of her, just like #SarahEverard. Please pay the same attention.”
A third said:
“It is quite astounding that the Sabina Nessa murder is not dominating the news.”
“Yes, there has been an arrest, and so there are significant reporting restrictions in place, but the conversations about violence against women, and the stories about her life are sadly lacking.”
Others claimed that the lack of media attention compared to other similar cases was due to the fact that Sabina Nessa was a person of colour.
Instagram users also began posting information about the case to their Stories.
The matter soon attracted more discussion and the hashtag #SabinaNessa began trending.
Following this, Mayor Sadiq Khan appeared on Good Morning Britain and called for misogyny to be a hate crime.
Mr Khan said: “Between last year’s International Women’s Day and this year’s International Women’s Day, 180 women were killed at the hands of men across the country.
“We do have an epidemic when it comes to violence against women and girls we need a whole system approach.
“We need to make sure at a young age boys are taught to respect girls they are taught about healthy relationships.
“Girls at a young age are changing the way they dress on the way to school because of the way they are treated by boys.
“I think we need to make misogyny a hate crime. I think harassment in the public space against women should be a criminal offence.
“I think we need to give this issue the same seriousness we give other issues.”
While more attention is now being paid to the case, the fact that it took nearly a whole week after her death means that more needs to be done when it comes to paying attention to all women.