Sabina Nessa: When will vigil for murdered teacher be held and where will it be?

·5-min read

A candlelight vigil will be held for a primary school teacher murdered as she walked through her local park on the way to meet a friend.

Sabina Nessa, 28, is thought to have been on the way to meet a mystery man for a date at her local pub but never made it.

Her body was discovered nearly 24 hours later by a dog walker off a well-trodden path used by joggers.

The community has been rocked by the death but everyone has been united in their grief to hold a vigil to honour the teacher described as “beautiful, talented and caring” by her grieving sister.

As grief sweeps the country other vigils will coincide to honour Ms Nessa from Cardiff to Brighton and Newcastle at 7pm on Friday.

Who organised the original vigil?

The community of Kidbrooke in Greenwich, south-east London, have organised a vigil at 7pm on Friday evening in Pegler Square where The Vault pub she had plans to meet a friend at but never made it too.

The neighbours are also inviting those who cannot be there in person to light a candle on their doorstep at the same time.

Annie Gibbs, the vice-chair of the Kidbrooke forum community group, said people in the area were feeling scared.

“We are a loving community and we have a strong sense of solidarity,” she told The Guardian. “Everyone wants the same thing – to support Sabina’s family and to make sure that we find whoever did this, so that she can get justice.”

Local Amie Dibba designed the flyer for the vigil and she has helped Annie Gibbs mobilise the community into action as she seeks justice for Ms Nessa’s murder.

Who will be there?

Reclaim These Streets organised the Sarah Everard vigil which was attended by Kate Middleton.

But they were forced to officially cancel it under police instruction due to Covid laws.

Cressida Dick came under heavy criticism for being heavy-handed and arresting mourners who had gathered at the bandstand in Clapham Common.

A spokesperson said: “On Friday, at 7pm we will go to Peglar Square be stand shoulder to shoulder with Annie Gibbs, Amie Dibba and all the other organisers of this moving vigil to remember Sabina, how she lived and how many lives she has transformed. Enough is enough.”

Where will it be held?

Peglar Square is described as the heart of the £1billion regenerated Kidbrooke Village.

The Vault pub where police believe Sabina was trying to get to is just off the square as is Cator Park where police believe she was attacked and killed.

What have police said?

Speaking at the park where flowers had been laid beside a police cordon, Detective Chief Superintendent Trevor Lawry said he is “keeping a completely open mind” on what the motive of the attacker may have been.

Murder detectives are concerned the attacker could still be on the loose and could strike again. Her death has sparked many unanswered questions.

Asked whether the Metropolitan Police are worried the killer could attack someone else, he said: “We have lines of inquiry that we’re pursuing at the moment.

“It’s always a concern that it may happen, but that’s not something that we have any intelligence on at this time.”

Chief Superintendent Trevor Lawry  speaking at the scene (PA)
Chief Superintendent Trevor Lawry speaking at the scene (PA)

And asked whether he believes a stranger was behind the attack, Mr Lawry added: “That’s definitely a line of inquiry that we’re looking at.”

Ms Nessa’s body was found by a member of the public almost 24 hours after her death.

Asked by reporters why it took police so long to find her in a small and busy park, he said: “It was found by somebody walking their dog and it was off the track that you would normally walk so that’s not that unexpected.”

Will anything change?

Police have stepped up patrols in the area handing out personal alarms and leaflets on personal safety.

On a political level, the death has led Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to call say the epidemic of violence against women should be treated with the same level of priority as counter-terrorism.

Mr Khan said: “I think it is an epidemic and I think it’s really important that people like me, who have not had to live the experiences of women and girls, listen to the experience of women and girls and work with them to have policies that address this awful issue.

“It’s just awful what happened to Sabina last Friday. When I think of Bibaa Henry, Nicole Smallman, Sarah Everard, it’s heartbreaking.”

Poplar and Limehouse MP Apsana Begum said: “In the last six months, we have been reminded that not everyone is safe to walk home at night. The murders of Sarah Everard, Bibaa Henry, Nicole Smallman and now Sabina Nessa are all instances of gender-based violence. This is a societal issue that must be acted on by our government.”

Shadow policing minister Sarah Jones said: “Just last week Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services’ report described violence against women and girls as an ‘epidemic’ and that ‘fundamental cross-system change’ is urgently needed.

“We need radical changes to tackle this epidemic, bring perpetrators to justice, and better support women who are victims of violence and abuse.”

Reclaim These Streets told The Standard: “We need a reformed criminal justice system that does not let women down – especially women of colour.

“Misogyny should be a hate crime. Rapes should no longer go unprosecuted and unpunished. Women should be able to walk into a police station confident that they will be believed and taken seriously.”

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