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20 Oct 2021 0:40
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  •   Home > News > Law and Order

    London grapples with murder of teacher Sabina Nessa as outrage over women's safety reignites

    Just months after the UK was shaken by the murder of Sarah Everard, London is again shocked by the murder of a lone woman in a public space — teacher Sabina Nessa.

    Six months after the UK was shaken by the murder of Sarah Everard, London has again been shocked by the murder of a lone woman in a public space — teacher Sabina Nessa.

    The killing of Ms Nessa as she walked through a busy park to meet a friend has sparked tributes from Londoners, including Mayor Sadiq Khan, and outrage from women tired of fearing for their safety in public.

    A vigil is planned for Friday evening as the community grapples with the killing of the 28-year-old schoolteacher, who a cousin described to British media as "the most caring person".

    Police said Ms Nessa was walking through Cator Park in London's south-east to meet a friend at a pub at 8:30pm on Friday, September 17.

    It was a journey that should have taken just five minutes from her doorstep, but she never made it.

    Her body was discovered near a community centre in the park the following day and a post-mortem examination was inconclusive.

    "This did not happen in the middle of the night, people would have been in and around the park at the time," Detective Superintendent Luke Marks from the Metropolitan Police said.

    One man, in his 40s, was arrested by police but was released, but police would not comment further. 

    Parallels between Sabina Nessa murder and Sarah Everard

    Police said they were acutely aware of the issue of women's safety and had stepped up visible police patrols in the area to ease community concern. 

    The local council has reportedly handed out more than 200 personal safety alarms to women and vulnerable people in the area Ms Nessa's body was discovered and community groups have been distributing flyers on how to keep safe while walking alone.  

    "Regardless of their gender, anybody in London should be able to go out for an evening and not be concerned about being the victim of violent crime," Detective Superintendent Marks said.

    But that prospect has been chillingly real for women in London.

    The issue of women's safety was brought to the fore earlier this year by the murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard.

    It set of a string of protests organised by grassroots group, Reclaim These Streets, which said it was outraged by Ms Nessa's death.

    "We are angry and heartbroken to hear about the loss of yet another woman," the group said.

    "This is an epidemic of violence against women. Enough with reports, what is the actual plan to keep us safe and alive?"

    Ms Everard's killer, police officer Wayne Couzens, pleaded guilty to kidnapping, rape and murder in July.

    Couzens due to be sentenced for the crime next week.


    © 2021 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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