Sabina Nessa: primary school teacher’s body found hidden under leaves in Kidbrooke park

Teachers at Rushey Green school said: “We are devastated by Sabina’s tragic death. She was kind, caring and absolutely dedicated to her pupils.”

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The body of a London primary school teacher was found hidden under a pile of leaves by a dog walker, it has emerged.

Sabina Nessa, 28, was wearing sparkly boots and a slip dress and the man who found her thought she might have just passed out on the way home from a party.

He tried to talk to her but when he brushed the leaves away and saw blood he found another park-goer and used her phone to call police.

Initial enquiries suggest she was attacked at around 8:30pm on Friday but her body was not found until 5:30pm the next day near the One Space community centre on Kidbrooke Park Road, Greenwich, south east London.

A man in his 40s was arrested on suspicion of murder, but has since been released under investigation.

The victim worked at Rushey Green Primary School in nearby Lewisham.

Headteacher Lisa Williams said: “We are devastated by Sabina’s tragic death.

“She was kind, caring and absolutely dedicated to her pupils.

“She had so much life ahead of her and so much more to give and her loss is desperately sad.”

The cause of death remains unknown after a post-mortem proved inconclusive.

The body of Sabrina Nessa, a primary school teacher, was found in a park in Kidbrooke. Credit: Met PoliceThe body of Sabrina Nessa, a primary school teacher, was found in a park in Kidbrooke. Credit: Met Police
The body of Sabrina Nessa, a primary school teacher, was found in a park in Kidbrooke. Credit: Met Police

Her body was discovered by a dog walker and a woman who was out looking for a gold necklace she had lost in the park.

Fiona Oletu, 23, a paralegal who lives nearby said: “One of my neighbours is the guy who found the body.

“He was walking his dog on the other side of the path and thought he saw a potato sack in the bushes by the community centre.

“He crossed over and said it was strange because there was someone passed out covered in leaves.

“She was wearing sparkly boots and a slip dress, so he thought she had come from a night out.

“So he got down and started talking to her, because he thought she had maybe got drunk and passed out.

“He said her boots were on and facing the sky and her neck was almost turned all the way back.

“He brushed the leaves off and saw some blood and that’s when he realised something was wrong.

“She did not have a pulse and wasn’t breathing. He also said it was weird because there were a lot of flies hovering around.

“His phone had died so he had to borrow someone else’s and then called the police.”

Friends, fighting back tears, laid flowers in front of the green where her body was found on Saturday afternoon.

One reads: “Dear Sabina I miss you so very much.

“RIP my beautiful friend”, with the drawing of a heart.

Forensics were seen combing the grass and bushes surrounding the centre, near the five aside football field and skatepark on Tuesday.

Joggers and dog walkers say they are surprised nobody found the victim’s body earlier as the park was teaming with people on Saturday.

A 35-year-old woman who lives nearby said: “It’s a bit scary because that is my daily walk and it happened during the day - apparently on Friday.

“I was running through the park on Saturday morning - there’s a park run with about 200 people.

“I guess she must have been hidden somewhere in the bushes because nobody saw her.”

Egor Grigorev, 29, who works in finance and moved to the area in April with his partner, said: “It was a bit strange because the police said they found the body at around 5:30pm.

“It was kind of creepy; I was running through the area at around 2pm on Saturday and the police weren’t there.

“Then when I got back from work around 7pm there were seven or eight officers standing around and preventing people entering the park.

“So it might have happened just hours before or I ran straight past it. It was a bit unsettling.”

Detective Chief Inspector Joe Garrity, who is leading the investigation, said: “Our initial enquiries suggest that this attack happened at around 8.30pm on Friday, a time when the park was likely being used by many people from dog walkers to joggers.

“Sabina was found near the OneSpace community centre which we know is a facility used by lots of people and we would ask anyone who was in or around the area and who may have any information to come forward.

“Did you see someone loitering or acting suspiciously? Or, did you see someone leaving the area in a hurry, perhaps running away? If you have any information, it is vital you tell us.

“We are working around the clock to deliver justice for the family of this young woman, and we need your help to do it. Please contact 0208 721 4266, or 101. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers.”

Chief Superintendent Trevor Lawry, responsible for local policing in Greenwich, said: “Our thoughts are first and foremost with Sabina’s family and friends following this shocking incident and we will continue to provide our support to them as the investigation progresses.

“We know this incident will be worrying to those who live and work in the community.

“Over the next few days, they can expect to see extra high-visibility patrols both in and around the crime scene as well as other open spaces across the boroughs of Lewisham and Greenwich.

“As always, we are also working very closely with both local authorities to speak to our communities to ensure we are doing everything possible to keep people safe.”

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