Sabina Nessa’s body was tragically found in Cator Park in Kidbrooke, south east London on Friday evening. She was just five minutes away from home and on her way to meet a friend
Women do not feel safe walking the streets following the murder of a young and much-loved teacher, a campaigner has said.
Sabina Nessa, 28, was killed just five minutes away from her home in Cator Park, Kidbrooke, Greenwich, on Friday evening as she made her way to meet a friend in Kidbrooke Village.
She never reached her destination, and tragically her body was found close to the OneSpace community centre within the park at around 5.30pm the next day.
Sabina’s killer has still not been found.
A vigil has been planned in Sabina’s memory by Reclaim These Streets, an organisation working to raise awareness of women’s safety across the country.
The vigil will take place on Friday evening at Pegler Square in Kidbrooke at 7pm. It is the third vigil planned by the organisation just this year, after it organised vigils for Sarah Everard, who was killed in Clapham in March this year, and sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, who were murdered in Wembley in 2020.
Co-founder, Anna Birley, has urged the Government to reform the education and criminal justice systems to end misogyny and violence against women in the wake of her death.
She said: “I think women don’t feel safe in public.
“We often get told when the worst happens that murder of a woman by a stranger in a public place is very rare and we are very safe. But the thing is our lived experiences of street harassment, cat-calling, a man exposing himself to us tell us we’re not safe, and murder is rarely the first crime someone commits.
“Misogynistic and gender-based violence is likely to have come about as an escalation and I don’t know a woman who hasn’t experienced something along that spectrum.
“You never know when one of those things is going to put us in danger. We hope that anyone who saw anything will come forward to the police.
“It’s scary for people, especially women in that community knowing that there’s a violent perpetrator still at large. But however well-meaning advice is for women to stay at home for their own safety or to carry rape alarms with them, it doesn’t actually fix the problem of violence against women.
“We shouldn’t be looking to solutions that require women to change their behaviour. Women should be able to walk five minutes across a park at any time of day or night without fear of violence.”
Ms Birley said the Government urgently needs to fix the “deep-rooted culture of misogyny in British vulture” by reforming the criminal justice system to achieve a higher conviction rate against rapists, introduce anti-misogyny training for police, and bring in lessons in schools aimed at “tackling toxic masculinity” from a young age.
She added that hundreds of women are likely to turn up for the vigil on Friday.
She said: “I hope for Sabina’s sake that people come. Her name deserves to be heard and she deserves to be remembered not just as a victim but as an amazing teacher and member of the community and as a sister and a friend.
She deserves the same outcry and outpouring that other women get.”
Earlier on Thursday, the Metropolitan Police continued to appeal for help from members of the public for information surrounding Sabina’s death.
Detective Chief Superintendent Trevor Lawry said it is “always a concern” that her murderer could attack again.
He said: “It’s always a concern that it may happen, but that’s not something that we have any intelligence on at this time.”
He added that police are “definitely” looking at the possibility that Sabina was attacked by a stranger and that detectives are “keeping an open mind” on what the attacker’s motive could have been.
Detective Chief Superintendent Lawry said: “There’s significant lines of inquiry at the moment and they’re ones that I can’t divulge.”
When questioned about women’s safety, he said London’s “street’s are safe for women.”
He added: “I’d like to reassure the public around that, I’d like to make sure that people are free to walk around free from fear and my officers will make sure that can take place.”
The Detective said that since Sarah Everard’s death, things have been changing within the force in the way it deals with violent crime against women.
He said: “I think the main things that are changing are that, one, we’re listening to people, we’re understanding where people are feeling not so safe, and we’re putting out patrols to make sure that we do that.
“This isn’t just a policing issue, there are lots of issues to be able to make people feel safe in an open space and we’re working with our partners to ensure we do that.”