A teacher found murdered in a park last weekend after being attacked while walking home has been remembered as “brilliant” and the “sweetest person”.
The body of Sabina Nessa, 28, was discovered under a pile of leaves by a dog walker on Saturday in Cator Park in Kidbrooke, southeast London, Metropolitan Police say.
Detective Inspector Joe Garrity, who is leading the investigation into her death, said police believe Ms Nessa was attacked at around 8.30pm on Friday night.
“A time when the park was likely being used by many people from dog walkers to joggers,” he said.
“Sabina was found near the OneSpace community centre which we know is a facility used by lots of people, and we would ask anyone who was in or around the area and who may have any information to come forward,” he said in a press release.
“Did you see someone loitering or acting suspiciously? Or, did you see someone leaving the area in a hurry, perhaps running away? If you have any information, it is vital you tell us.”
Police told BBC there was a short delay in finding the 28-year-old's body because it was not on the main walkway.
A man, aged in his 40s, was arrested on suspicion of murder but has been released pending further enquiries, Met Police said.
Several crime scenes are in place and the investigation is ongoing.
Teacher was 'five minutes' from home
Ms Nessa’s cousin Zubel Ahmed told ITV News his family is devastated after the 28-year-old’s brutal death.
“She's been attacked on the way home and she was five minutes away from here, walking home her usual route that she's been taking for the last few weeks where she's been walking from school to home, going back and forth,” he said.
“She was due to go and see her family at the weekend and even that... she couldn't even do that one last time unfortunately.
“We went and saw her parents, they are inconsolable. It's the worst way for someone to go.”
Mr Ahmed said the shock of her murder has not fully sunk in.
Ms Nessa helped non-English speakers develop language skills and “was a beautiful, kind, caring soul”, Mr Ahmed said.
Murder sparks outrage across London
Ms Nessa's murder has sparked outrage across London and is the latest in a series of violent attacks against women in the city.
Earlier this year, the disappearance of Sarah Everard, 33, a marketing executive, as she walked to her London home made headlines across the world. Her remains were found a few days later and former Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens pleaded guilty to her kidnapping, rape and murder.
Reclaim the Streets, a resistance movement to stop violence against women, will hold a vigil for Ms Nessa on Friday.
The group said they are “angry and heartbroken” by the teacher’s death, the BBC reports. Reclaim the Streets and multiple other groups have called on the government to take action to prevent further attacks.
“It’s why we don’t walk where we want, when we want,” Our Streets Now, a movement to end public sexual harassment, said, BBC reports.
“It’s why we tense at the sound of a car pulling up, or of a man crossing the street towards us.
“It’s why 1 in 5 girls have avoided their place of education.
“Please, stop telling us we’re overreacting.
“Sabina Ness, Sarah Everard, Bibaa Henry, Nicole Smallman.
“And these are just the names that we remember.”
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