There’s a vigil for Sabina Nessa taking place in London – here’s how to show your support

A vigil is being held to remember Sabina Nessa, the 28-year-old who was found dead in a park in south-east London on Saturday. Here are the details you need to take part and pay your respects.

Women across the country have reacted in shock and horror at the news of the death of Sabina Nessa, a 28-year-old primary school teacher whose body was found in Cator Park, Kidbrooke, in south-east London on Saturday morning.

News of her death – which the police are treating as murder – has spread around social media since the news broke last weekend, with many comparing the case to the murders of Sarah Everard, Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, which made headlines earlier this year.

The investigation into Nessa’s death is still very much underway – a man in his 40s who was arrested on suspicion of killing her has been released under further investigation, and the police have asked for any potential witnesses to contact them, including those who may have been driving through the area on Friday evening and were recording dash-cam footage. 

But in the meantime, the local community in Kidbrooke has organised a vigil for Nessa to pay tribute to her life and stand in solidarity against the violence she and many other women continue to be subjected to.

The event, which is being supported by the campaign group Reclaim These Streets, is taking place at 7pm on Friday evening in Pegler Square, Kidbrooke Village. People who can attend are being invited to join the group and light a candle in Nessa’s memory; a balloon release has also been planned. 

If you are unable to travel to Pegler Square or feel safer at home, the organisers are inviting you to join in by lighting a candle on your doorstep at 7pm.   

Speaking to Stylist about the vigil, event organiser and SafeLives pioneer Annie Gibbs said she wanted to organise the event to raise awareness of Nessa’s murder and show solidarity with her family.

“I wanted to organise a vigil for Sabina Nessa because her life matters, her family matters,” she explains. “I cannot begin to imagine what they must be going through and felt that people should be raising awareness about this horrible crime that has taken her life. We’re also raising awareness so that people can come forward with information that will help identify who did this.

“We want people to respect and honour her life and make sure that in doing so calmly we send a loud and clear message that we are a united community, and this violent act isn’t going to divide us. Although many people didn’t know Sabina, our community is one. Violence isn’t welcome here and we will stand up against it.”

As well as showing support to Nessa’s loved ones, Gibbs also hopes the vigil leads to action in regards to Nessa’s case.

“We deeply desire to not only honour her and her family during this time but to get justice for Sabina so that people can come forward to the police with information that will help find the perpetrator,” she adds.

Speaking to The Guardian, Annie Birley, one of Reclaim These Streets’ organisers, said Nessa’s death was a sign that more action was needed to protect women on the UK’s streets.

“For too long the burden of women’s safety has been on women – it shouldn’t take yet another murder of a woman to change that,” she said. “Since March we’ve seen a lot of reports and little action – a woman dies at the hands of a man every three days in this country so the time for reports and platitudes is over and the time for action is long overdue.”

Friday’s vigil is the third-such high profile vigil to take place in London this year. In March, crowds came together at Clapham Common bandstand to pay tribute to Sarah Everard, and at the start of August, a vigil was held in Fryent Country Park to remember the lives of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman.  

The Kidbrooke community and Reclaim These Streets are currently looking for event stewards, first aiders and more to volunteer at the vigil. If you’re interested in volunteering, you can find out more details and apply on the Reclaim These Streets website.

The Metropolitan Police are asking anyone who was in the area on Friday evening and think they saw Sabina or any suspicious behaviour in or around Cator Park to come forward with information by calling the incident room on 0208 721 4266 or Crimestoppers (completely anonymously) on 0800 555 111. 

To find out more about what Stylist is doing to help tackle violence against women and girls in the UK, you can check out our A Fearless Future campaign. 

Image: Metropolitan Police

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