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Emotional vigil held in Eastbourne for school teacher Sabina Nessa

Emotional vigil held in Eastbourne for school teacher Sabina Nessa
People carry placards reading ‘When will women be safe?’

An emotional vigil honouring school teacher Sabina Nessa has been held in Eastbourne, the seaside town where the man suspected of her murder was arrested last month.

Around 200 people gathered as the sun set on Tuesday to pay their respects to Ms Nessa and protest the “crisis” of violence against women.

The 28-year-old teacher had been walking to meet a friend at a pub near her home when she was fatally attacked in Cator Park, southeast London. Her body was found nearly 24 hours later near a community centre in the park.

Natasha Peacock, the co-organiser of the vigil, told a crowd gathered in the town’s Victorian pier: “Sabina Nessa should still be alive.

“She was loved and she will be deeply missed.”

Many of those attending held pictures of Ms Nessa, while others carried signs calling out male violence or remembering Sarah Everard, who was murdered by police officer Wayne Couzens in March.

Others carried placards reading “When will women be safe?” while another said “She was just walking home”.

Ms Peacock continued: “Women are frightened for their lives.

“We are having to consider the risk of going out alone past 6pm and potentially getting, attacked, raped or murdered and the advice to flag down busses does not make us feel safe.

“This is a crisis. We need to make the safety of women and girls a priority.”

Tuesday’s vigil comes amid continuing public outrage and debate over women’s safety and policing. Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police, on Monday announced a review of “standards and culture” at the force following calls for her resignation.

The peaceful demonstration continued for about an hour, with various speakers addressing the crowd. At around 7pm, those gathered paused in thoughtful reflection as a Muslim prayer was read out.

The vigil ended with a minute’s silence for Ms Nessa, as people raised their phone torches into the air in the coming darkness.

Koci Selamaj was arrested in the East Sussex town in the early hours of 26 September on suspicion of Ms Nessa’s murder. A light-coloured Nissan Micra was seized in a leafy residential street about half-a-mile away.

Mr Selamaj, 36, from Eastbourne, has indicated that he will deny the charge of murder. He has been remanded in custody ahead of a plea hearing on 16 December.