Sabina Nessa: Vigil held for school teacher held in Eastbourne where murder suspect was arrested

·3-min read

A vigil has been held for Sabina Nessa in Eastbourne, where the man suspected of her murder was arrested.

About 200 people gathered to pay tribute to the school teacher and protest the "crisis" of violence against women as the sun set in the Sussex seaside town.

The peaceful demonstration, held in front of the town's Victorian pier, continued for about an hour, with various speakers addressing the crowd.

At about 7pm, those gathered paused in thoughtful reflection as a Muslim prayer was read out.

The vigil came to an end after dark when a minute's silence was held and people shone their phone lights.

Ms Nessa, 28, had been walking to meet a friend at a pub near her home when she was fatally attacked on 17 September.

The journey should have taken just five minutes, but instead she was killed in Cator Park in Kidbrooke, southeast London.

Her body was found nearly 24 hours later covered with leaves near a community centre in the park.

Koci Selamaj, 36, was arrested in the East Sussex town in the early hours of 26 September.

Tuesday's vigil comes amid continuing public outrage and debate over women's safety and policing.

Speaking to those gathered on the seafront on Tuesday evening, co-organiser Natasha Peacock said: "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.

One placard read "When will women be safe?" while another said "She was just walking home".

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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."

Speaking at the Conservative's party conference on Tuesday in Manchester, Home Secretary Priti Patel announced that an independent inquiry will look into the "systematic failures" by police following the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer.

Priti Patel said the incident had "exposed unimaginable failings" in policing and added that an inquiry will "ensure something like this can never happen again".

The first part of will examine Wayne Couzens' previous behaviour and will establish a definitive account of his conduct leading up to his conviction, as well as any opportunities missed by the Metropolitan Police, the Home Office said.

The second part will look at any specific issues raised by the first part of the inquiry, which could include wider issues across policing.

Ms Patel has asked the independent police inspectorate to report back to her on vetting procedures by the end of this year.

Speaking on Sky News on Wednesday, newly appointed Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said despite not being on a statutory footing, the inquiry will "work" and will involve a "root and branch review" of policing.

"I think what people want is us to get cracking on this as soon as possible and to get to the truth," he said, adding: "It'll work."

Mr Raab continued: "Let us be clear, this needs to be looked at robustly, vigorously, without fear or favour."

Noting that most officers are "appalled" by Wayne Couzens' actions and "want to get those answers too", Mr Raab told Sky News: "We are not going to have a problem getting to the truth of this because I am telling you I think the vast majority of officers will want to proactively support this."

He added: "I am confident we will get to the bottom of this."

The justice secretary continued: "We will look at everything from top to bottom and I have said it is my number one priority to make sure women feel confident in the justice system and being confident in being able to walk the streets without having to look over their shoulder in fear."

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