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Third vigil held for murdered teacher

29th Oct 2021

Home Correspondent

A third vigil has been held for murdered primary school teacher Sabina Nessa earlier this month. About 200 people gathered in Eastbourne in East Sussex where her murder suspect was arrested. Attendees paid tribute to Nessa and protested the “crisis” of violence against women on October 5.

A verse from the Qur’an was read out in front of the town’s Victorian pier at about 7 pm as those gathered paused in thoughtful reflection. The vigil ended with a minute’s silence, and people shone their phones’ lights.

Around 8:30 pm on September 17, Nessa reportedly walked to meet a friend at The Depot bar in Pegler Square.

Nessa’s body was found in Cator Park in Kidbrooke the next day under a pile of leaves by a dog walker.
Nessa was attacked moments after leaving her home, according to a police source. The assailant is believed to have then carried Nessa to Cator Park over his shoulder.

Nessa’s family said they were “shocked” by the killing. In a statement, her sister Jebina Yasmin Islam said, “There are no words to describe how we [her family] are feeling 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.”
Nessa’s killing occurred in the run-up to the sentencing of police officer Wayne Couzens, who raped, murdered and burned the body of Sarah Everard in March. Everard’s murder caused protests up and down the country over yet another attack by a man against a woman walking alone.Speaking to those gathered on the seafront, co-organiser Natasha Peacock said, “Sabina Nessa should still be alive. She was loved and she will be deeply missed.”

Many of those attending held pictures of Nessa, while others carried signs calling out male violence or remembering fellow femicide victim Sarah Everard.

Peacock continued: “Women are frightened for their lives. We are having to consider the risk of going out alone past 6 pm and potentially getting attacked, raped or murdered and the advice to flag down a bus does not make us feel safe. “This is a crisis. We need to make the safety of women and girls a priority.”

The Femicide Census collected statistics on men’s violence against women in the ten years leading up to 2018. This equates to around one killing every three days in the UK.

The vigil in Eastbourne is the third to be held for Nessa.
Muslim women-led a community rally was organised at the Maryam Centre in East London Mosque demanding justice for murdered Nessa a month ago. Speakers at the event included women leaders from the Muslim community and guest speakers from women’s and community organisations, as well as Nessa’s uncle Shahin Miah, who said the family was “devastated” and “distraught” by her murder. Hours later, over 500 people gathered on Pegler Square, near where Nessa and the suspect were captured on CCTV.

Koci Selamaj, 36, from Eastbourne, was arrested on September 26 in connection with the killing and has appeared at the Old Bailey. The Old Bailey proceedings heard that Nessa was repeatedly struck with a two-foot-long weapon. The court has heard that the defendant will deny the killing. A plea hearing has been set for December 16.

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