Friends say 28-year-old teacher was on way to first date when attack took place
Police investigations into whether Sabina Nessa was killed by a stranger have prompted concern in the southeast London neighbourhood where her body was found.
Résidents, who have said they once felt safe in the Kidbrooke area, are now fearful to walk in the dark or walk home alone following the murder of the 28-year-old school teacher in a local park.
Police investigating Ms Nessa’s death believe she was on a five minute walk between her home and a pub last Friday when she was attacked in Cator Park. Friends have reportedly said she was going on a first date at the bar.
Jeudi, officers said they were pursuing a line of inquiry that she had been murdered by a stranger, a development that has seen some locals take extra precautions.
“My wife quite often walks home from the train station, I have to pick her up from the station now and be extra vigilant – it’s quite scary,” Thomas Kruel, who lives on the same street as Sabina Nessa, Raconté L'indépendant.
“We’ll keep doing that until they catch the person," il ajouta.
Tracy, 52, who declined to give her full name, was near tears describing the frustration of women in the area who feel they can’t run or walk without being “murdered, harassed or robbed.”
“I’m a woman of this neighbourhood – it’s the fact that we are not safe in 2021. That’s what bothers me," elle a dit.
“I’m frustrated, nobody needs flowers, we need something done, we need to be heard. I’m sick of it – her poor family. You can’t even go to the pub, what is wrong with people?
“I never run at night anymore, I stopped two years ago. I’ve lived in New York, LA, Bali – all over the world and I can’t believe you can’t go through a park at 8.30pm at night.”
Police have sought to allay the fears of the local community. Detective Chief Superintendent Trevor Lawry insisted at a press conference in Kidbrooke on Thursday “the streets are safe for women”.
“People should be free to walk around free from fear and officers are here to make sure that can take place," il ajouta.
When asked whether police believe Ms Nessa was attacked by a stranger, he replied: “That is definitely a line of inquiry we are looking at.”
Her body, which was “off the track that you would normally walk”, was found by someone walking their dog, the local policing commander added.
Mr Lawry said “significant lines of inquiry” were being followed by detectives, but they are keeping a “completely open mind” as to the motive of the attack.
Police had arrested a 40-year-old man in connection with the murder, but he was later released pending further investigation.
Mme Nessa, who taught at Rushey Green Primary School in Catford, is thought to have left her home in Astell Road, just before 8.30pm last Friday.
Her body was found close to the OneSpace community cafe, inside the park, Le jour suivant.
She was on her way to The Depot, a pub on Pegler Square in Kidbrooke Village.
Residents told L'indépendant that parts of the walk through the park are “poorly lit” but is a route routinely taken.
Caitlyn Kelly, who lives in the same building Ms Nessa lived in, said she gets “chills” every time she walks through the park now and said the parts of the pathway Ms Nessa walked are “pure darkness” and would be poorly lit around the time Ms Nessa was attacked.
“I definitely won’t walk home at night anymore,” Ms Kelly said.
Elle a ajouté: “Us women in the Kidbrooke community don’t want to go out until we know what’s what.
“I’m questioning everything right now.”
Ms Kelly’s husband, Ben, added that he: “doesn’t let [Caitlyn] walk alone anymore at night”.
Sabina Nessa’s sister also paid tribute to the schoolteacher, writing on Twitter how “talented and caring” Ms Nessa was.
Elle a écrit: “My beautiful talented & caring sister my inspiration to always put myself first & never let anybody put me down never in my life did I or my sisters or my mum or dad think this could happen to us.
“May Allah grant her JannahAmeen.”
A vigil is being held in remembrance of Sabina Nessa in the Kidbrooke community this Friday.
A post-mortem examination carried out at Greenwich Mortuary on Monday, 20 September was inconclusive.
Anyone with information should call the incident room on 0208 721 4266 or Crimestoppers completely anonymously on 0800 555 111.