As news of Koci Salamaj 36 being charged with the murder of school teacher Sabina Nessa 28 was announced, everyone who followed the story became reflective.
The question was asked “how can we stop this happening again?”
In research for this article I wanted to find out how many incidents involving women had happened in parks in London in the last 30 days, I was shocked at what i found.
The conversation on dangers posed to women daily was reignited after Sabina’s death and the recent vigil for her death by Reclaim these streets highlighted this.
Neasden recreation ground
The first story I found involved a pensioner.
Police are appealing for the public’s help in identifying three women and a man who spoke to a woman who reported that she was raped in a park in Brent.
On Monday, 2 August it was reported to police that a 69-year-old woman had been raped in Neasden Recreation Ground.
The 69-year-old woman is believed to have spoken to three women shortly afterwards who were at the outdoor gym at the time and a male jogger who was running in the park at the time. (witnesses)
The jogger is described as black, in his 30s, and the females as being about 19 years of age.
Two of the females were wearing hijabs and the other was short, wearing blue jeans and a black t-shirt.
Detectives investigating this incident would like to trace and speak to these people as they may be key witnesses.
Detective Inspector Richard Lewsley said: “We would really like to speak to these four people as they spoke to the woman and they may have some key information to help this investigation.
“I would urge them, or anyone who was in Neasden Recreation Ground at around 6.30pm on 31 July, to come forward and contact police.”
A man who was arrested on August 7 has been charged with rape and possession of an offensive weapon.
Child rape Stratford
Officers investigating a rape in Stratford are working to identify members of the public who may have witnessed the incident.
On Saturday, 4 September between 21:30hrs and 22:30hrs, a 15-year-old girl was walking along Montfichet Road when she approached by an unknown who put him arm around her and led her away from the footpath.
He then forced her behind a bench where he raped her.
The incident was caught on CCTV and officers are carrying out a number of urgent enquiries.
As part of the investigation officers are releasing a images of people who may have passed the incident without realising.
They could be key to helping piece together the moments before and after the assault.
Officers would like to hear from anyone who was in the area of Montfichet Road at around the time of the attack.
Detective Sergeant Lauren Servants, from the local policing team in Newham, said: “This was a horrific attack and we have specially trained officers providing support to the victim as we work to find and arrest the person responsible.
“If you recognise yourself in the CCTV images, or recognise someone you know, please call us immediately. Identifying these people could assist us in progressing the case.”
50 year old woman, Watling Park
Detectives were appealing for witnesses and information after a woman was attacked in Edgware.
The rape was reported to have occurred in Watling Park off Cressingham Road in Edgware at approximately 21:30hrs on Saturday, 28 August.
The victim, a woman in her 50s, continues to be supported by specially trained officers.
Detectives from the North West Basic Command Public Protection Unit – which covers Barnet – are investigating.
They have today released images of a man they wish to identify and speak with in connection with their investigation. The images are taken from Burnt Oak Station.
Detectives would also like to speak with anyone who was in the Watling Park area between 19:00 and 22:30hrs on Saturday, 28 August.
No arrests have been made and enquiries are ongoing.
Detectives were appealing for information following a series of sexual assaults in Dollis Hill, Brent.
The three separate incidents each took place less than five minutes’ walk from Dollis Hill Underground Station.
Officers are treating them as linked.
The first assault took place at 23:25hrs on Saturday, 28 August when a woman, aged 30, was followed by a male and sexually assaulted on Fleetwood Road, NW10.
The second assault occurred at around 22:05hrs on Sunday, 5 September when a 21-year-old woman was followed by a male and sexually assaulted on Ellesmere Road, NW10.
A member of the public intervened and the suspect subsequently fled the scene.
At 22:15hrs on Saturday, 11 September a woman, aged 21, was sexually assaulted by a male, again on Ellesmere Road.
A member of the public intervened and the suspect fled the scene.
Each victim described the man as mixed race with facial stubble, of slim build and wearing black clothing at the time of the assaults.
Detective Inspector Jonny Newell, leading the investigation, said: “All of these assaults took place on a weekend, at a similar time and in very close proximity to both the underground and each other.
“It is clear that the perpetrator is waiting at or near the tube station with the sole purpose of seeking out women to follow to a secluded area before he carries out his attacks.
“On each occasion the victims have managed to raise the alarm, causing their attacker to flee the scene.
We are incredibly grateful to the two members of the public who came to their assistance.
“All of the women have understandably been left shaken and we are doing everything we can to stop this happening again.
We would urge anyone who lives in the area to think about whether they saw anything suspicious on any of these evenings and to check any CCTV or doorbell footage they may have.
These numbers are truly terrifying and the modus operendi is the same in each attack.
Each victim that was raped was in a isolated area and alone.
It echoes similarities to the murder of Sarah Everard, who was also a woman walking home alone.
Her trust was abused by a serving officer for the met, Wayne Cousens has pled guilty to her murder and rape.
The former police officer went hunting for a woman to attack, using his warrant card and handcuffs to seize Sarah Everard from the street, before driving her away to inflict a brutal attack he concealed by burning her body, a court has heard.
The former Metropolitan police officer Wayne Couzens used the handcuffs, warrant card and his training about Covid rules to deceive Everard into getting into a car with him before he raped and murdered her, the court heard.
Opening a two-day sentencing hearing, Tom Little QC said Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, was seized from a south London street on 3 March 2021.
Couzens’ deceit involved abusing his position as a police officer, the court heard, and he drove Everard to Kent where he killed her.
Couzens, who was a serving Metropolitan police officer at the time of the kidnapping, got Everard into a car he had hired “by handcuffing her, as well as showing her his warrant card”, Little said.
Couzens kidnapped, raped and murdered Everard, then burned her body to hide his crimes, the court heard.
Little said: “He was to burn Sarah Everard’s body after he murdered her. He then moved her body in green bags that he had purchased specifically for that task.”
The court was told that Couzens, who was off duty, came across Everard, showed his warrant card and handcuffed her with police issue equipment meant to detain suspects.
She had been walking home after a going to a friend’s place for dinner at the height of the Covid lockdown.
Meanwhile, Couzens had switched from his own vehicle to a hire car as he scoured London’s streets “hunting for a lone young female to kidnap and rape, which is what he did”, Little told the court.
A woman who witnessed the start of Couzens’ kidnapping of Everard saw Couzens handcuff her on the pavement.
Little said the witness thought she was witnessing an undercover police officer arresting a woman, whom she assumed “must have done something wrong”.
Then the witness saw Couzens walking Everard, her hands handcuffed behind her back, towards his car.
Little said Everard may have been more vulnerable to an accusation of breaching Covid rules because she had been to a friend’s place for dinner at the height of the 2021 lockdown.
Little said: “She was detained by fraud.
The defendant using his warrant card and handcuffs as well as his other police issue equipment to effect a false arrest.
“Having handcuffed her to the rear she would not have been able to undo the seatbelt that the defendant must have placed over her.
That was the start of her lengthy ordeal including an 80-mile journey whilst detained which was to lead first to her rape and then her murder.
“At some point fairly soon after driving from the pavement on to the South Circular and having not gone to a police station, Sarah Everard must have realised her fate.”
Little told the court that Everard was the victim of “deception, kidnap, rape, strangulation, fire”.
Couzens appeared in person at the Old Bailey in central London wearing a dark blue suit and mask, and spoke only to confirm his identity.
He sat, head bowed and eyes closed, as the prosecutor outlined the details of his crimes, which Little stressed had involved manipulation and deception.
Everard’s parents were in attendance, as the court heard semen was found on her body, and Couzens had tried to dispose of her mobile phone.
A fragment of Everard’s sim card was found in a car Couzens used.
Little said Couzens was likely to have been wearing his police belt with handcuffs and a rectangular black pouch, similar to a pepper spray holder, when he kidnapped Everard.
“He detained, restrained and kidnapped Sarah Everard,” Little told Lord Justice Fulford, who will decide on the sentence on Thursday.
The court was told Couzens had undertaken police Covid patrols and so knew what language to use to those who may have breached the rules.
Everard disappeared on 3 March.
She was reported missing by her partner the next day when she failed to meet him as arranged.
Her body was recovered seven days later from woodland near Ashford in Kent, about 20 miles west of Couzens’ home in Deal.
It was hidden and wrapped in a builder’s bag Couzens had bought days earlier.
Everard was identified via her dental records. A postmortem showed she had died from compression of the neck.
Couzens, 48, was an armed officer in the Met’s elite parliamentary and diplomatic protection group.
After pleading to guilty to the charge of murder in July, Couzens now faces a mandatory life sentence.
The hearing will set a minimum term or tariff which he must serve in jail before he can even be considered for release.
On the day of the attack Couzens finished work at 7am, then collected a rental car he had hired three days earlier.
He drove around in the hire car before he spotted Everard walking home.
Couzens was arrested at his home in Deal on 9 March, first on suspicion of kidnap.
The next day, while in police custody, he was arrested on suspicion of Everard’s murder.
Couzens was vetted when he first became a police officer with the civil nuclear constabulary (CNC) in 2011.
That force has said nothing was reported to it suggesting any problem with his behaviour or conduct.
In 2018 Couzens joined the Met, Britain’s biggest force.
Before joining the CNC Couzens volunteered with Kent police from 2005 to 2009, becoming a special sergeant.
He was also in the territorial army and worked at the family garage in Kent.
The case has triggered questions about whether any chance to spot the danger Couzens posed were missed.
This is being investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
The IOPC said it was also investigating allegations the Met may not have properly investigated claims against Couzens days before he attacked Everard.
The IOPC said it was carrying out an investigation into alleged Met failures to properly investigate two allegations of indecent exposure linked to Couzens in London in February 2021.
The IOPC is also investigating alleged Kent police failures “to investigate an indecent exposure incident linked to PC Couzens in Kent in 2015”, some six years before he attacked Everard.
The kidnapping and murder of Everard triggered a national debate about the safety of women in the UK and whether the criminal justice system does enough to protect them and punish those who attack them.
The details of what Sarah went through are truly horrific and heartbreaking to read.
Her families torment added to by learning it was a man she was raised to trust.
A police officer is meant to be a symbol of protection, well that was the idea.
Now it is a system, exposed daily as being filled with corruption and sexual assault cases going unpunished as recent freedom of information requests revealed.
In a effort to help and support initiatives to improve female safety I have purchased personal alarm to give away to subscribers.
These will be available on the website to order for collection or dleivery from next week.
Thank you for reading.