2021-09-24 11:27:19 Suspect Arrested in Sabina Nessa Murder Investigation

Suspect Arrested in Sabina Nessa Murder Investigation

LONDON: A suspect has been arrested in the death of Sabina Nessa, a 28-year-old teacher whose body was discovered in a London park last week, reigniting outrage in the UK over violence against women.

Organizers have planned a vigil in London for Friday night to remember Ms. Nessa and demand better protections for women and girls. Across the country, similar ceremonies are planned.

The Metropolitan Police in London announced on Thursday that a 38-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of murder, and they released closed-circuit television images of another man and a vehicle linked to the case, as well as an appeal for information to the public. Another man in his forties had previously been arrested and released pending further investigation.

“Our team has been working tirelessly to find the person responsible for Sabina’s murder, including an extensive trawl of CCTV, work that continues,” Neil John, a detective chief inspector with the Met’s specialist crime command, said in a statement.

Ms. Nessa’s murder comes six months after the kidnapping and murder of Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, in London, which sparked widespread outrage, sparked national protests, and drew an outpouring of women who had experienced sexual violence.

In the midst of a national pandemic lockdown, those protests erupted into broader protests condemning the heavy-handed policing of an early vigil for Ms. Everard and calling for a new approach to investigating crimes against women.

Many, however, believe that little has changed in the months since the two killings, both of which occurred in the evening in relatively public areas of London. Despite promises from law enforcement, advocates for women’s rights say the streets are not safer.

“The rise in violence against women, particularly women of color, has not gone unnoticed,” wrote Sister Uncut, a feminist organization that emerged earlier this year as a leader in Britain’s national women’s safety movement. “This Friday, we will join our sisters in mourning. We are not going to live in fear.”

Ms. Nessa left her home in Southeast London’s Kidbrooke district at 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 17 to meet a friend at a pub nearby, a route that took her through a public park. Her journey should have taken no longer than five minutes.

But she never showed up. The following afternoon, a passer-by discovered her body in the park.

In the days since, national attention has shifted back to gender-based violence and women’s safety in public spaces — as well as the government’s failure to address the broader crisis of violence against women, which worsened during the pandemic.

During a series of nationwide lockdowns, there was an increase in cases of lethal domestic abuse. In addition, a national survey conducted this summer found that two out of every three women aged 16 to 34 had experienced some form of harassment in the previous 12 months.

Speaking in Parliament earlier this week, Janet Daby, an opposition Labour lawmaker who represents a district near where Ms. Nessa was killed, demanded that the government take new steps to combat this type of violence.

“Her life, like so many others before her, was brutally taken by misogynistic violence,” Ms. Daby said. “How many women’s lives must be taken before this government acts seriously?”

According to Counting Dead Women, a project that monitors a grim trend known as “femicide,” at least 108 women in the United Kingdom have been killed this year in cases where a man is considered the primary suspect.

“We do have an epidemic of violence against women and girls,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in an interview with British broadcaster ITV on Thursday. “I believe we require a whole-system approach.”

This summer, the government unveiled a new strategy to combat violence against women and girls, including harsher penalties for offenders and increased policing of public spaces. However, a report commissioned this year by Priti Patel, the home secretary, from an independent watchdog group, called for a “radical change of approach across the entire system involving the police, criminal justice system, local authorities, health and education.”

“We can’t just police our way out of this,” said Zo Billingham, a member of the watchdog group, when the report was released. “These offenses are deeply ingrained, pervasive, and prevalent throughout our society, and if they are to be changed, a whole-system approach is required.”

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Suspect Arrested in Sabina Nessa Murder Investigation