United Kingdom

Man held over Sabina Nessa murder released by police as people gather for vigil

A 38-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murdering Sabina Nessa has been released under investigation, as police continued the appeal for information about another man wanted in connection with the inquiry.

It came as the primary school teacher’s family made an impassioned plea for women to “keep safe” as hundreds of mourners prepared to pay their respects at a vigil on Friday.

Ms Nessa, 28, had been walking to meet a friend at a pub near her home in Kidbrooke, south-east London, last Friday when she was fatally attacked in nearby 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.

Both men arrested on suspicion of murder in recent days have now been released pending further investigation, while detectives remain keen to trace a third man captured on CCTV near where Ms Nessa was killed.

On Friday, her sister Jebina Yasmin Islam described the family’s ordeal.

In a statement released to the PA news agency marking a week since her death, Ms Nessa’s sister said: “We as a family are shocked of the murder of our sister, daughter and aunty to my girls.

“There are no words to describe how we are feeling as a family at the moment. We did not expect that something like this would ever happen to us.

“I urge everyone to walk on busy streets when walking home from work, school or a friend’s home. Please keep safe.

“I ask you to pray for our sister and make dua (supplication) for her. May Allah grant her paradise.”

The Metropolitan Police issued footage and images of the man they wish to speak to, which shows him walking in Pegler Square on the evening Ms Nessa was attacked.

A 12-second clip shows a balding man wearing a black hooded coat and grey jeans, holding an orange object, looking over his shoulder and pulling at his hood as he walks down a path.

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

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe urged anyone who may know the man to contact them.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil John, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said “an extensive trawl” of CCTV in the area continued and said information on the man’s identity and whereabouts could be “vital” to the investigation.

Friends of Ms Nessa gathered for community rally at the East London Mosque on Friday, ahead of a vigil in her honour.

Halima Begum, whose family knew Ms Nessa, told the PA news agency: “Speaking as a woman and a Londoner from the city’s Bangladeshi community, I’m heartbroken.

“Sabina is related to members of my extended family and everything I know about her speaks of a beautiful, intelligent young woman who had so much life to live, and so, so much to offer in terms of making a positive difference to the people’s lives she touched, not least her family’s and the young children she taught at school.”

Ms Begum urged everyone attending a memorial event on Friday for Ms Nessa to “take care this evening, solidarity to yourself and women across London and the UK – all we can do is hope for no more horrendous instances like this, and the countless others these past few months.”

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