‘#Say her name’ Murder of teacher Sabina Nessa triggers huge outpouring of grief as outrage reignites over safety of women on Britain’s streets just six months after death of Sarah Everard

  • Campaigners, politicians and celebrities are left outraged by the teacher’s death
  • Some say violence against women was ‘epidemic’ as others want men to be allies
  • Ms Nessa, 28, is believed to have been killed while on walk in Cator Park, London
  • Her body was found day later near OneSpace community centre hidden in leaves

Sabina Nessa’s suspected murder has triggered a furious backlash at yet another woman killed on the streets.

Campaigners and politicians have been left outraged by the primary school teacher’s death in Cator Park, south-east London, on Friday.

Some branded violence against women an ‘epidemic’ while others called for men to become ‘allies’ in the fight against misogynistic hate crime.

Ms Nessa, 28, is believed to have been killed while on a five-minute walk to meet a friend at a pub at around 8.30pm last Friday.

Her body was found a day later near the OneSpace community centre hidden under a pile of leaves.

It comes after a series of high profile female murders, including Sarah Everard, 33, who was snatched in London and killed by policeman Wayne Couzens on March 3.

Meanwhile sisters Nicole Smallman, 27, and Bibaa Henry, 46, were stabbed to death in a Wembley park by 19-year-old Danyal Hussein on June 6 last year.

Sabina Nessa’s suspected murder has triggered a furious backlash at yet another woman killed on the streets

It comes after a series of high profile female murders, including Sarah Everard (pictured), 33, who was snatched in London and killed by policeman Wayne Couzens on March 3

Meanwhile sisters Nicole Smallman, 27, and Bibaa Henry, 46, were stabbed to death in a Wembley park by 19-year-old Danyal Hussein on June 6 last year

Reclaim These Streets, which campaigns for the safety of women and girls and planned a vigil for Ms Everard in March, led the outrage at Ms Nessa’s death.

It said in a statement: ‘We are angry and heartbroken to hear about the loss of yet another woman. 

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

The group will hold a candlelit vigil in memory of Ms Nessa on Friday night at Peglar Square.

A similar event in memory of Ms Everard was broken up by Met officers enforcing Covid rules, prompting widespread anger.

The police watchdog found officers had used proportionate force but critics said their approach was inappropriate given the purpose of the event.

EVAW Coalition, which campaigns against violence against women, tweeted: ‘We demand justice for Sabina and meaningful action to address violence against women and girls. #SayHerName #SaySabinasName.’

It earlier posted: ‘Violence against Black and minoritised women is so often minimised and victims ignored. We will not accept this.

‘All women should have the right to live free from the threat of violence. All victims should receive equal support, attention and justice.’

A similar group called Womans Place UK simply posted on social media: ‘#sayhername.’

Women’s Aid said: ‘All women should be safe both on the streets and in their own homes.

‘In solidarity and sisterhood, let’s remember Sabina Nessa — another life lost to violence against women.’

Young Women’s Trust added: ‘We are devastated to hear about the death of Sabina Nessa.

‘Violence against women and girls is unacceptable for all women and girls, in all their diversity.’

Ms Nessa was attacked in the park at around 8.30pm, and her body found on Saturday near the OneSpace community centre hidden under a pile of leaves

A forensics tent in Cator Park in Kidbrooke, south east London, where the teacher was found dead

The primary school teacher, originally from Bedfordshire, is understood to have been just minutes from her home when she was attacked.

Her body lay undiscovered for several hours because it was ‘off the main park walkway’. Officers fear she may have been murdered by a stranger.

Police are treating the case as a murder investigation and believe a stranger may have targeted Ms Nessa before dumping her body in a meadow.

A man in his forties was arrested on suspicion of murder a few hours after her body was found by a dog walker.

But yesterday the suspect was released under investigation pending further inquiries.

A post-mortem examination was inconclusive and further tests will now be carried out to establish a cause of death. 

Politicians such as London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Labour MP David Lammy and Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey were among those horrified by another killing.

Mr Khan called violence against women and girls an ‘epidemic’ and called on men to be ‘allies’.

He said misogyny should be made a hate crime and harassment in a public space against women should be a criminal offence.

He told GMB: ‘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. I think us men have got to be allies in addressing this issue.’

Mr Lammy tweeted: ‘Sabina Nessa was attacked and killed while walking home through a London park.

‘This is a devastating tragedy. Enough is enough. The government needs to do so much more to tackle the epidemic of violence against women and girls.’

Mr Davey said : ‘A brilliant teacher with her whole life ahead of her. My thoughts are with the friends, family and pupils of Sabina Nessa.

‘We cannot let her life be another statistic, we need action to address the epidemic of violence against women and girls.’

Mr Khan called violence against women and girls an ‘epidemic’ and called on men to be ‘allies’

Tributes from family and peers flooded in for 28-year-old primary school teacher. Above: Three of Sabina’s friends lay flowers at the entrance to Cator Park

Forensics teams dressed in blue overalls are pictured combing through the grassy murder scene in Cator Park, south east London

Ms Hobhouse put: ‘This is a devastating case and my heart goes out to the family of Sabina Nessa.

‘It is yet another tragic case of violence against women – there must be action to tackle the root cause.’

Nadia Whittome, MP for Nottingham East, said: ”Her murder is not a one-off but part of an epidemic of gendered violence.

‘We demand justice for Sabina and safety for all women, on the streets and in our homes.’

Sarah Owen, Labour MP for Luton North, said online: ‘Under this government, the safety of statues are prioritised more than the safety of women.

‘How many more women like Sabina Nessa have to die before the sorry excuse for a Home Sec does something?’

She added: ‘Keeping us safe and providing justice is the very least any state should do.’

Claudia Webbe. Labour MP for Leicester East, said: ‘Women should not have to fear for their safety, walking alone at night.

‘Sabina Nessa did not make it home. Her murder is a reminder of how our lives are controlled daily – violence against women must end.’

She added: ‘My thoughts are with the family and friends of Sabina Nessa #SayHerName.’

A heavy police presence remains in the area days after the body was recovered as increased patrols have been promised. Pictured: Police stand watch at the crime scene in Cator Park

Flowers left at the edge of the park where police have sealed off an area of meadow 

On Friday, officers sealed off the area and were seen standing guard while investigators collected evidence

The case has chilling similarities to the killing of Ms Everard, who was snatched off the street as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham, south London.

Her body was found a week later in woodland near Ashford, Kent, just yards from land owned by Couzens, 48. She had been raped and strangled.

Women are continuing to speak out about their lack of safety on the streets, with a recent poll finding as many as 48 per cent of women do not feel safe walking alone.

Celebrities also weighed in on Ms Nessa’s death, with Jameela Jamil, Emma Barnett and Tracy-Ann Oberman among them.

Jamil posted: ‘I don’t want to hear more public warnings about women not walking in parks in the evening.

‘I am tired of women being burdened with treating the symptoms of men’s violence against women.

‘TREAT THE DAMN CAUSE. Men’s violence. This is a Man problem that women pay the price for.’

Barnett put: ‘Sabina Nessa – the 28 year old school teacher killed in a park. A vigil will be held tomorrow.’

She added online: ‘Six months on from the murder of Sarah Everard- what has to change?’

Actress Ms Oberman said: ‘Let’s never forget #SabinaNessa – news channels keep the pressure on and the story up. So close after #SarahEverard.

‘We need to reclaim the streets. Women have to be safe and feel safe. Tragic and sickening. Thoughts with her family.’

Diana Award CEO Tessy Ojo CBE tweeted: ‘Her name is Sabina Nessa. She was 28 years old. Like #SarahEverard she was murdered in London.

‘Please be outraged because violence against one is violence against all women. Our girls and daughters deserve safety, anywhere and everywhere.’

Mandu Reid: ‘Another woman murdered in a senseless act of brutal violence. Sabina Nessa: say her name.

‘She lived, worked and was murdered within a short radius of where I live in Lewisham. This could’ve been me or my sister.’

‘Sabina Nessa’s murder in a park at 8.30pm is devastating. Her murder is not a one-off but part of an epidemic of gendered violence.

‘We demand justice for Sabina and safety for all women, on the streets and in our homes. 

The Year 1 teacher had worked for just over a year at Rushey Green Primary School, three miles away in Catford.

She studied sociology at Greenwich University in south-east London and went on to complete a teaching postgraduate degree at the Bedfordshire University.

Miss Nessa also had a qualification from Cambridge to teach English as a foreign language.

A candlelit vigil in memory of Sabina Nessa is set to take place on Friday evening at Peglar Square.

Organisers are encouraging people to bring their own candles to light as they pay respects to Ms Nessa.

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 said the investigation was making good progress and appealed for anyone with information to get in touch.

He added: ‘We believe there are still others out there who may have information that could help.’  

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