Sabina Nessa, the primary school teacher murdered in south London at the weekend, was attacked moments after leaving her flat by a man wielding an object, The Telegraph newspaper has revealed.
The 28-year-old was pounced upon as she left her new build block in Kidbrooke on her way to a date at a nearby pub on Friday evening they also claim.
Her attacker was captured on CCTV appearing to strike her on the head with an object moments after she left the communal front door, before carrying her off over his shoulder towards Cator Park, according to a police source.
Miss Nessa’s body was found by a dog walker on Saturday afternoon just yards away, hidden under leaves, close to a community centre.
A post mortem examination carried out on Monday was inconclusive.
The shocking murder of another young woman in London has reignited the fierce debate around whether the streets are safe for women, coming just six months after Sarah Everard was abducted in Clapham, south London, and murdered by a serving police officer.
Vigils will be held for Miss Nessa in cities across the country on Friday evening organised by Reclaim the Streets, the same group that organised Sarah everard vigil.
On Saturday afternoon, a man known to Miss Nessa was arrested and released under investigation.
Scotland Yard confirmed on Thursday that a second man had been arrested and was being held on suspicion of murder. The 38-year-old man was detained at an address in Lewisham.
Meanwhile, detectives also released an image of a man they would like to trace in connection with the investigation and appealed for help to trace a silver car he was thought to be driving.
The images show a man in Pegler Square, close to the bar where Miss Nessa had arranged to meet her date.
Detective Chief Inspector Neil John, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “Our team have been working tirelessly to find the person responsible for Sabina’s murder and this has included an extensive trawl of CCTV, work which remains ongoing.
“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.
“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.”
Greenwich Council has handed out 200 portable alarms to women in Kidbrooke following other attacks in the area.
In May, a woman was sexually assaulted two miles from where Miss Nessa’s body was discovered. The woman, aged in her 60s, was walking in a park at 7:30pm when she was approached by a man who pushed her into bushes and sexually assaulted her before fleeing in a black 4×4 vehicle, the Metropolitan Police said at the time.
Yesterday morning, Det Ch Supt Trevor Lawry, responsible for local policing in Greenwich, said there were “significant lines of inquiry” into the murder of Miss Nessa but that they had not ruled out any specific motive.
But he added: “We are keeping a completely open mind.”
Mr Lawry said that while a further attack was always a possibility, there was “no intelligence” to suggest her killer would act again and insisted the streets of the capital were safe for women.
“The streets are safe for women, I’d like to reassure the public around that, I’d like to make sure that people are free to walk around, free from fear, and my officers will make sure that that can take place,” he said.
Family and friends have been left “inconsolable” by the death of Miss Nessa, whom they have described as “the most kind, caring person”.
A close relative said: “We love her, we miss her. It is unfair. I don’t even have the words.
There will never be justice because that would mean her coming back home.
“There could be justice for the local community by locking up these perpetrators.
But there will never be justice for our family.”
Mr Lawry has urged anyone who had been in Cator Park last Friday evening to think carefully about whether they had seen anyone acting suspiciously or running away from the area.
“We now understand that Sabina was planning on meeting a friend at The Depot pub which is just over a five-minute walk away,” he said. “Sabina’s body was sadly found by a member of the public at around 5.30pm the following day.
“Cator Park is well used by the community and we are appealing for anyone who was here on Friday evening and thinks they saw anything unusual to come forward.
“Maybe you saw someone acting strangely in the park or running away from it.
“If you were in the area, please think back and let us know any information.”
It is believed that she was making her way through Cator Park towards The Depot bar on Pegler Square, Kidbrooke Village where she planned to meet a friend.
Sabina never arrived at the pub and is thought to have been murdered as she walked through the park.
Her body was found close to the OneSpace community centre within the park at around 17.30hrs the following day.
A 38-year-old man arrested in connection with the murder of Sabina Nessa has been released under investigation.
The man [B] was arrested on Thursday, 23 September at an address in Lewisham.
Detectives are continuing to appeal for information about a man captured on CCTV in Pegler Square, E3 on the evening Sabina was attacked.
Two images, as well as CCTV footage, has been released and police are urging anyone who recognises the man or a silver vehicle they believe he has access to to make contact immediately.