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Teacher Sabina Nessa, 28, murdered on way to see friend, was planning ‘new life in Dubai’

23 September 2021, 14:56 | Updated: 23 September 2021, 15:07

Teacher Sabina Nessa, 28, was killed while walking to meet a friend
Teacher Sabina Nessa, 28, was killed while walking to meet a friend. Picture: Metropolitan Police
Matthew Thompson

By Matthew Thompson

Primary school teacher Sabina Nessa, who was murdered as she walked to her local pub, had dreams of going to teach children in the Middle East, friends have told LBC.

A close friend speaking today near the scene where Sabina, 28, was killed said: "She just wanted to live life. I think she wanted to go to Dubai or the UAE and teach children there."

She had just gone through a break-up, and was heading out on a first date with somebody friends say she had known for a while, when she failed to return home to her flat in Kidbrooke.

LBC understands that Sabina had only lived in the flat since June. Her family, with whom she was reportedly very close, live in Bedfordshire.

A friend described her as a “loveable” person, who in spite of her breakup “just wanted to live life” and was an avid consumer of news and music.

Police officers by floral tributes at Cator Park in Kidbrooke
Police officers by floral tributes at Cator Park in Kidbrooke. Picture: Alamy

She loved children, and had devoted her life to teaching them, a close friend said.

They added that they became suspicious when they hadn't heard from Sabina by Saturday, as it was unlike her to stay out.

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Sabina’s body was found by a neighbour walking their dog around Cator Park on Saturday, 24 hours after police believe she was killed.

Police have said they are investigating if the attacker was a stranger and fear he could strike again – though that is uncertain.

Detectives said they are keeping an "open mind" over the attacker’s motive and refused to divulge any leads.

A man in his forties was arrested on suspicion of murder a few hours after her body was found by a dog walker.

But yesterday he was released under investigation pending further inquiries.

Ms Nessa, 28, is believed to have left her home in Astell Road in Kidbrooke shortly before 8.30pm on Friday, September 17.

Detectives think she had walked through Cator Park towards The Depot, in Pegler Square, where she had planned to meet a friend.

However, the teacher never arrived and police believe she was murdered as she walked through the park.

Read more: Sabina Nessa 'was murdered while on five-minute walk to meet friend' at London pub

Read more: “My beautiful sister. My inspiration” Sabina’s devastated sister pays tribute

Ms Nessa's sister has tweeted a tribute which described her sister as "beautiful, talented and caring".

She tweeted: "My inspiration to always put myself first and never let anybody put me down. Never in my life did I or my sisters or my mum or dad think this could happen to us. May Allah grant her Jannah Ameen #SabinaNessa."

There has been an outpouring of grief in the Kidbrooke community following Ms Nessa's death, along with an increased focus on the continued violence against women in London's streets.

A community group in Kidbrooke has given personal alarms to women in the area.

Ms Nessa's death comes six months after Sarah Everard was murdered by a serving police officer as she walked home in Clapham.

Detective Chief Superintendent Trevor Lawry said the "streets are safe for women" in London.

When asked about safety concerns and chances of a repeat of the attack, DCI Lawry said: "It's always a concern that it may happen, but that's not something that we have any intelligence on at this time."

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When asked whether he believes a stranger was behind the attack, he said: "That's definitely a line of inquiry that we're looking at."

Asked about policing in the wake of Sarah Everard's killing earlier in the year, the officer said: "I think the main things that are changing are that, one, we're listening to people, we're understanding where people are feeling not so safe, and we're putting out patrols to make sure that we do that.

"This isn't just a policing issue, there's lots of issues to be able to make people feel safe in an open space and we're working with our partners to ensure we do that."

Ms Nessa's cousin, Zubel Ahmed, said the family was "inconsolable".

"She was due to go and see her family at the weekend and even that... she couldn't even do that one last time unfortunately," he told ITV News.

A post-mortem was inconclusive.

Anyone with information should call the Met's incident room on 0208 721 4266 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.