Over 180 Women Killed By Men in England Since March 2020, London Mayor Says

More than 180 women have been killed in England since March of 2020, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Thursday, describing the violence against women as a national "epidemic."

His comments came as British police investigate the September 17 killing of 28-year-old Sabina Nessa, whom detectives believe was attacked in Kidbrooke during what should have been a five-minute walk through a park as she headed to meet a friend.

"We have got to give this issue the same seriousness we give other issues," Khan told ITV.

Authorities are working to recruit more police officers and presented a new plan to curtail violence against women and girls earlier in 2020, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. Police are currently calling for more information on the death of Nessa, a primary school teacher, and said that they're looking into whether a stranger could be responsible for her death, the Associated Press reported.

"We know the community are rightly shocked by this murder—as are we—and we are using every resource available to us to find the individual responsible," Detective Inspector Joe Garrity said.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Sarah Everard Tribute
Sarah Everard, a London woman who was abducted and killed by a serving police officer, is one of 180 women in Britain that London Mayor Sadiq Khan said have been killed by men since March of 2020. Above, a young boy looks at floral tributes left at Clapham Common bandstand where people continued to pay their respects to Everard on March 16, 2021, in London. Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

Nessa's body was discovered almost 24 hours after her death in a local park by a member of the public.

A man in his 40s was arrested on suspicion of murder, but he has been released under further investigation. Results from a post-mortem examination carried out on Monday were inconclusive.

A vigil is due to be held in Nessa's memory on Friday.

A cousin of Nessa told the BBC that the 28-year-old's parents are "inconsolable." Lisa Williams, the headteacher of Rushley Green Primary School where she worked, remembered Nessa as "brilliant," "kind" and "caring."

The case came just a few months after the abduction, rape and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard in south London by a serving police officer. The Everard case shocked the country and saw thousands take to the streets to denounce violence against women.

Khan stressed he believed that violence against women and girls should be treated more seriously.

"I think this deserves the same priority as counterterrorism. I agree with the inspector who called this an epidemic," he said.

The mayor also mourned the deaths of sisters Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman, 27, who were murdered in a park in Wembley, north London, by 19-year-old Danyal Hussein in June of 2020.

"This is a government that is passing legislation, setting out actions and tackling these horrific crimes and we are determined to see a reduction in them," Safeguarding Minister Rachel Maclean told the House of Commons on Wednesday.

London Mayor Speaks on Violence Against Women
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Thursday that more than 180 women in England have been killed by men since March of 2020. Above, Khan speaks to members of the media at Prior Weston primary school before delivering a speech on his plans to tackle climate change to environmental groups and members of the media at Barbican Centre on September 23, 2021, in London, England. Leon Neal/Getty Images