Hundreds of people have attended a vigil to mourn teacher Sabina Nessa as the UK faces a reckoning with violence against women.
Sabina’s sister spoke at the event on Friday night at Pegler Square in Kidbrooke, south-east London, close to where the 28-year-old’s body was found a week ago, as a murder investigation continues.
Vigils are also planned both across the UK – both to remember Nessa and to highlight growing concern that the issue of violence against women is not being taken seriously enough by the authorities.
Sabina had been walking to meet a friend at a pub near her home in Kidbrooke when she was fatally attacked in nearby Cator Park. The walk would have taken her just five minutes.
Jebina Yasmin Islam, Sabina Nessa’s sister, broke down as she addressed crowds at the vigil.
She said: “I just want to say thank you to everyone who came today to show support for my sister.
“We have lost an amazing, caring, beautiful sister, who left this world far too early.”
She added: “Sabina loved her family. Words cannot describe how we are feeling, this feels like we are stuck in a bad dream and can’t get out of it – our world is shattered, we are simply lost for words.
“No family should go through what we are going through.”
Two men arrested on suspicion of murder in recent days have been released pending further investigation, while detectives remain keen to trace a third man captured on CCTV near where Sabina was killed.
Sabina’s death has renewed a debate about the safety of women on Britain’s streets.
Campaigners say police forces and politicians are putting too much emphasis on what women should do to protect themselves, and in turn minimise the actions of male perpetrators.
Around 200 women were killed last year in Great Britain, according to official figures.
Ahead of the vigil, the Duchess of Cambridge said she was “saddened by the loss of another innocent young woman on our streets”.
Writing on Twitter, the duchess said: “I am saddened by the loss of another innocent young woman on our streets.
“My thoughts are with Sabina’s family and friends, and all those who have been affected by this tragic event.”
Nessa’s uncle, Shahin Miah, said the family has “no language to speak in these difficult times”.
In a statement read out at a rally at the east London mosque, he said: “I appear before you with great sorrow. We have no language to speak in these difficult times. There is no place for suffering like this. We are devastated and distraught as a family.”
Miah added: “Those of you who are here today are sympathetic to our grief over this brutal murder, on behalf of the family of Sabina Nessa, I would like to express my deep gratitude to all those who have spoken out against it.
“We are grateful to all who have been hurt, protested, sympathised with, and expressed concern for the safety of women throughout the UK, not just you, but throughout the UK.
“Any adversity teaches us to be united, gives us the strength to fight against injustice. Sabina is our grief today, Sabina is our courage today.”