The teacher is believed to have been killed in a park in southeast London on what should have been a five-minute walk from her house to a nearby pub, police say, sparking a renewed outcry about Britain’s epidemic of violence against women and girls.
The Metropolitan Police said the man was arrested at an address in Lewisham and remains in custody. Police also released CCTV stills of another man they are seeking in connection with Nessa’s murder, and of a silver vehicle they believe he has access to.
The images of the man show him walking in Pegler Square
, in Kidbrooke, on the evening the 28-year-old was attacked. The silver vehicle was also captured on CCTV in the Pegler Square area.
“We would ask anyone — especially those in Kidbrooke and the wider area of Lewisham and Greenwich — to take a careful look at these images to check whether you know who this man is or have seen him over recent days,” said Neil John, detective chief inspector from the Met’s specialist crime command.
“Any information as to his identity or whereabouts could be vital for our investigation so we are asking you to share this image far and wide to ensure as many people as possible see it,” John said, adding that detectives are trawling CCTV footage for more clues.
A candlelit vigil to remember Nessa has been organized by the Kidbrooke community at 7 p.m. on Friday night in Pegler Square.
Zubel Ahmed, Nessa’s cousin, told ITV News on Wednesday that the family is still in shock, and that the news of her death has left them “devastated” and “inconsolable.”
Nessa, who taught at a primary school in Lewisham was “truly the most kind, caring person out there,” Ahmed said. “I don’t understand how someone can do this, I really don’t. It’s a big, big loss to our family,” he said.
Nessa’s death comes six months after the United Kingdom was left reeling following the assault and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard.
Everard went missing after leaving a friend’s house in Clapham, south London, on May 3. Her body was found a week later, more than 50 miles from where she was last seen. Her killer, a serving police officer, pleaded guilty to her kidnap, rape and murder.
Everard’s story prompted an outpouring across social media from women sharing their own experiences of sexual assault and harassment, catapulting the UK’s damning record on violence against women and girls into the national spotlight.
More than 200 women were killed between March 2019 and 2020 in the UK, according to data from the Office for National Statistics and the Scottish government.
Following Nessa’s death, many are pointing out that little has changed. In a message posted to Twitter on Wednesday, Women’s Equality Party leader Mandu Reid said: “The media have been asking today: have things gotten better since Sarah Everard’s murder? The answer is NO.”