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Sabina Nessa murder: Police arrest man in Sussex in ‘significant development’

·4-min read
Sabina Nessa was attacked on September 17 when she was en route to meet a friend - Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
Sabina Nessa was attacked on September 17 when she was en route to meet a friend - Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

A man was arrested on Sunday on suspicion of murdering Sabina Nessa, in what the Metropolitan Police described as a “significant development”.

The 36-year-old was detained at an address in East Sussex at 3am and remains in police custody.

It came three days after detectives released CCTV images of a balding man they urgently wanted to speak to, appealing to anyone who recognised him to come forward.

The 12-second footage was captured by a camera outside a block of flats in Pegler Square, Kidbrooke, not far from the park where the primary school teacher's body was found.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil John, from the Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime Command, said of the arrest: “Sabina’s family have been informed of this significant development and they continue to be supported by specialist officers.”

Two other men, aged 40 and 38, who were previously arrested have been released under investigation.

Police search for clues in Pegler Square, Kidbrooke, a short distance away from where Sabina Nessa’s body was found - Jamie Lorriman for The Telegraph
Police search for clues in Pegler Square, Kidbrooke, a short distance away from where Sabina Nessa’s body was found - Jamie Lorriman for The Telegraph

Police have also published images of a silver vehicle they believe may be linked to the man in the CCTV footage.

In a separate development on Sunday, a Nissan Micra matching that description was seized on a residential road in Eastbourne shortly after 7am before being taken by the Metropolitan Police for forensic analysis.

The leafy residential street, where houses are valued at more than £750,000, is some 66 miles from the crime scene.

Scotland Yard refused to say whether or not they had recovered the vehicle connected to Miss Nessa’s murder and said they were still appealing for information about the car.

Royal tribute

A photo of Sabina Nessa is seen amongst floral tributes and messages at Cator Park - Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
A photo of Sabina Nessa is seen amongst floral tributes and messages at Cator Park - Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

Meanwhile, members of Miss Nessa’s family, including a woman believed to be her sister Jebina, visited the scene to look at the hundreds of tributes left in her memory, among them one sent on behalf of the Duchess of Cambridge.

On Friday evening, hundreds of mourners, including tearful relatives, gathered for a candlelit vigil in memory of the teacher, who was just 28 when she died.

Jebina Nessa, who was supported by a family liaison officer, read some of the cards and collected a white box featuring a picture of Miss Nessa from Annie Gibbs, the organiser of the vigil. The box had been used after the memorial to collect condolence notes written by attendees.

The teacher’s death has reignited the debate about the safety of women, following the murder of Sarah Everard, who was abducted and killed in March by a serving police officer near Clapham Common, south London.

Not a time ‘for blaming or politics’

Ms Gibbs said of the memorial service: “Everyone came there with the same heart. They just wanted the family to feel loved and supported and that was achieved. We really wanted to make sure we got the message out there that we want justice and this is not something that we expect in our community. But it’s not going to divide us.”

She added: “At the moment, we need to focus on the fact there is a family who has lost someone. Changes will come later.

“All this political stuff and organisations capitalising on it is just really not needed right now and it is wrong at this time. It is too soon. Barely a week has passed.

“This is a time for us to remember Sabina, not blaming or politics. Let’s respect the family. Let’s focus on Sabina and her loved ones.”

Miss Nessa was attacked as she left her block of flats at about 8.30pm on September 17. She was on her way to meet a friend at a bar just five minutes’ walk away.

Grainy CCTV footage taken outside the block is understood to show her being pounced upon as she left her building.

A police source said the attacker could be seen hitting her over the head with a weapon before carrying her off over his shoulder towards Cator Park, where her body was found by a dog walker the following day.

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