Vigil planned for murdered teacher, 28, attacked in park ‘minutes from home’

·Freelance Writer
·4-min read
Sabina Nessa is thought to have been murdered as she made her way to meet a friend. (PA)
Sabina Nessa is thought to have been murdered as she made her way to meet a friend. (PA)

A vigil has been planned for a teacher who is thought to have been murdered as she made her way to meet a friend at a pub in south-east London. 

Officers investigating the killing of 28-year-old Sabina Nessa said she left her home on Astell Road and walked through Cator Park last Friday towards The Depot bar in Pegler Square, Kidbrooke Village, when she was attacked.

The Metropolitan Police said her body was found near the OneSpace community centre at Kidbrooke Park Road in the Royal Borough of Greenwich on Saturday.

The force said: “Sabina never arrived at the pub and is thought to have been murdered as she walked through the park.”

Sabina Nessa's body was found near the OneSpace community centre at Kidbrooke Park Road in Greenwich. (Google)
Sabina Nessa's body was found near the OneSpace community centre at Kidbrooke Park Road in Greenwich. (Google)
Floral tributes at Cator Park in Kidbrooke, south London, near to the scene where the body of Sabina Nessa was found. Officers investigating the killing of the 28-year-old teacher said she left her home on Astell Road and walked through Cator Park last Friday towards The Depot bar in Pegler Square, Kidbrooke Village, when she was attacked. Picture date: Thursday September 23, 2021.
Floral tributes at Cator Park in Kidbrooke, south London, near to the scene where the body of Sabina Nessa was found. (PA)

Detectives are now investigating whether Ms Nessa was killed by a stranger who is still at large.

Speaking at the park where flowers had been laid beside a police cordon, detective chief superintendent Trevor Lawry said he is “keeping a completely open mind” on what the motive of the attacker may have been but is concerned that they are still on the loose.

When asked whether the Metropolitan Police are worried that the killer could attack someone else, he said: “We have lines of inquiry that we’re pursuing at the moment.

“It’s always a concern that it may happen, but that’s not something that we have any intelligence on at this time.”

And asked whether he believes a stranger was behind the attack, Lawry added: “That’s definitely a line of inquiry that we’re looking at.”

Watch: Met Police 'horrified' by murder of teacher in south London

A post-mortem examination carried out on Monday was inconclusive.

Detective Inspector Joe Garrity said: “Sabina’s journey should have taken just over five minutes but she never made it to her destination.

“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.”

He added the investigation was making good progress and said: “We believe there are still others out there who may have information that could help.

“If you think you saw Sabina or any suspicious behaviour in or around the park on Friday evening please speak to us.”

A vigil for Nessa, organised by the community of Kidbrooke, is set to take place at 7pm on Friday evening in Pegler Square.

Annie Gibbs, the vice-chair of the Kidbrooke forum community group, said people in the area were feeling shocked and scared by the murder.

Police tape in Cator Park, Kidbrooke, south London, near to the scene where the body of Sabina Nessa was found. (PA)
Police tape in Cator Park, Kidbrooke, south London, near to the scene where the body of Sabina Nessa was found. (PA)
Forensic Officers in Cator Park, Kidbrooke, south London, close to the scene where the body of Sabina Nessa was found. (PA)
Forensic Officers in Cator Park, Kidbrooke, south London, close to the scene where the body of Sabina Nessa was found. (PA)

She said: “We want people to respect and honour her life and make sure that we send a loud and clear message that we are a united community and this violent act isn’t going to divide us.

"Violence isn’t welcome here and we will stand up against it. Although many people didn’t know Sabina, our community is one.”

Flowers have been left close to where Sabina Nessa's body was found. (SWNS)
Flowers have been left close to where Sabina Nessa's body was found. (SWNS)

Her murder comes months after Sarah Everard was murdered by Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, which led to country-wide vigils and a call for an end of violence against women.

The vigils were organised by the Reclaim These Streets group, who said the murder of Ms Nessa had left them feeling “angry and heartbroken”.

They said in a statement: “There is an epidemic of violence unfolding in front of our eyes and all we are getting from the government are empty words and reports.”

Undated handout photo issued by Metropolitan Police of Sarah Everard. Senior police say they have been left shocked and disturbed after the arrest of a serving officer in connection with the disappearance of Sarah Issue date: Wednesday March 10, 2021.
Sabina Nessa's murder comes months after Sarah Everard (pictured) was murdered by Met Police officer Wayne Couzens. (PA)
File photo dated 13/3/2021 of people in the crowd turn on their phone torches as they gather in Clapham Common, London, for a vigil for Sarah Everard. Police breached
People in the crowd turn on their phone torches as they gather in Clapham Common, London, for a vigil for Sarah Everard shortly after her murder. (PA)

Speaking this morning, London mayor Sadiq Khan called violence against women and girls an “epidemic” and called on men to be “allies”.

Andrea Simon, the director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said: “Women are united in anger and grief following the murder of Sabina Nessa, just six months after the government promised to take action to tackle violence against women following the murder of Sarah Everard, but we are yet to see any meaningful transformation in the criminal justice system.”

A man in his 40s was arrested on suspicion of murder and released under investigation but he is not thought to be involved with the crime, police said previously.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0208 721 4266 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Watch: Violence against women: Inspectorate hopeful for change

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