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Hundreds attend vigil for ‘amazing’ Sabina Nessa as police hunt for killer

·5-min read

Hundreds of mourners gathered for an emotional candlelit vigil in memory of the “amazing, caring, beautiful” primary school teacher Sabina Nessa, as the police hunt for her killer entered its second week.

Family members wiped away tears as they spoke movingly of the sorrow the 28-year-old’s murder had caused, with detectives renewing appeals for information about a man captured on CCTV around the time and place of her death last Friday.

The Duchess of Cambridge shared a personal message on Twitter, describing how she was “saddened by the loss of another innocent young woman on our streets”.

Detective Chief Inspector Trevor Lawry told the more than 500 people gathered at the vigil in Pegler Square, Kidbrooke, south-east London: “Please help us catch the person responsible for this shocking incident.”

Ms Nessa had been walking to meet a friend at a pub near her home when she was fatally attacked in Cator Park.

Her body was discovered by a member of the public the next day, having been hidden under a pile of leaves, it was reported.

Sabina Nessa death
Members of the public attend a vigil in memory of Sabina Nessa (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Two men were separately arrested on suspicion of her murder but were subsequently released under investigation.

The Metropolitan Police remain keen to trace a third man spotted near where Ms Nessa was killed on the night she died.

They released a 12-second clip showing a balding man wearing a black hooded coat and grey jeans, holding an orange object, looking over his shoulder and pulling at his hood.

Sabina Nessa death
CCTV issued by the Metropolitan Police of a man detectives want to speak to in connection with the murder of Sabina Nessa (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Detectives also circulated an image, captured in the same area, of a silver car they believe the man had access to and appealed for anyone who recognised either to contact the force immediately.

Those attending Friday’s vigil – where mourners were asked to “say her name” in a show of solidarity – and a separate rally earlier in the evening at East London Mosque heard powerful testimony from Ms Nessa’s family.

Jebina Yasmin Islam, Ms Nessa’s sister, broke down as she addressed crowds at the vigil.

Sabina Nessa death
Jebina Yasmin Islam speaks at a vigil in memory of her sister Sabina Nessa at Pegler Square in Kidbrooke (Jonathan Brady/PA)

She said: “I just want to say thank you to everyone who came today to show support for my sister.

“We have lost an amazing, caring, beautiful sister, who left this world far too early.”

She added: “Sabina loved her family.

“Words cannot describe how we are feeling, this feels like we are stuck in a bad dream and can’t get out of it – our world is shattered, we are simply lost for words.

“No family should go through what we are going through.”

Sabina Nessa death
Tributes were paid to Ms Nessa (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Ms Nessa’s uncle Shahin Miah described his niece as “a kind and a open-minded person”, who was “always smiling and helping others”.

He said Ms Nessa’s death has “once again brought to the fore the question of women’s safety on the streets”.

In his statement, he said: “We don’t want what happened to Sabina to happen to anyone else.

“We don’t want any other mother’s chest to be empty or filled with deep sorrow, or to see the tears in the eyes of any father.”

OneSpace community centre, which is close to where a dog walker discovered Ms Nessa’s body on Friday, invited members of the community to write tributes for the teacher in a book of condolences as it re-opened on Saturday.

The building had been cordoned off by police as they searched the surrounding Cator Park where officers believe Ms Nessa was fatally attacked, and it remained closed until the weekend as a “mark of respect”, the owners said.

They said in a statement: “OneSpace staff and trustees would like to express their deepest condolences for the family and friends of Sabina Nessa after her tragic death on Friday evening near to the OneSpace building…

“On Saturday we will reopen the cafe, there will be a prayer room for all who wish to use this space.

“We will also have a book of condolence for anyone who wishes to write something.”

On Twitter, the Duchess of Cambridge wrote: “I am saddened by the loss of another innocent young woman on our streets.

“My thoughts are with Sabina’s family and friends, and all those who have been affected by this tragic event. C”

The message was signed off personally with her initial.

It is understood flowers have been laid on the duchess’s behalf.

In March, the duchess privately visited the memorial to murdered marketing executive Sarah Everard in Clapham Common, south-west London, after the 33-year-old was killed by off-duty police officer Wayne Couzens.

He is due to be sentenced next week.

Anyone with information about Ms Nessa’s death is asked to contact police.

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