Sabina Nessa's sister says her murder would have been 'front page news' if she were white

ITV News Reporter Chloe Keedy hears from Sabina Nessa's family about their grief, and their anger

"Mixed emotions" were the two words Jebina Yasmin Islam used when I asked her how her family felt about the life sentence handed down to her sister, Sabina Nessa’s, killer on Friday

There is relief, but Jebina also feels angry. Angry that Koci Selamaj, the man who murdered her sister "without a second thought" refused to come to court to hear her family address him directly. Angry that our legal system gave him the choice not to attend. 

Primary school teacher Sabina Nessa, 28, was murdered in September last year as she made the short walk through her local park to meet a friend at the pub.

Hundreds attend a vigil in memory of Sabina Nessa. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

Jebina told me that she believes her sister’s murder would have been treated differently by the media if Sabina had been a white woman. 

"It’s down to ethnicity… I do have a load of newspapers, for mine and my daughters' sake - to remember her auntie.

"Sabina was getting page seven, page nine, just a little section of it. And, for example, Sarah Everard was getting front page coverage. It’s not fair. Every woman whose life is taken should be on the front page. It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black or what ethnicity you are. A life has been taken."

In the seven months since her death, Jebina says the support her family has had from Sabina’s local community in Greenwich has been "amazing", but told me her family feels let down by the government.

"I was angry, why is he allowed to be given that choice?... he killed by sister without a second thought" - Jebina Yasmin Islam on why she thinks Sabina's killer should not have been given the choice to not attend court for his sentencing

She says the home secretary, Priti Patel, has never contacted them directly, despite posting on social media about the case.

"She’s using my sister’s name for her publicity but where was she for the last seven months?" she said.

"It just shows she doesn’t care. She says she’s trying to tackle male violence, but where is the support? All the talks in government are just talks and no action." 

A Home Office spokesperson told ITV News: "Tackling violence against women and girls is a top Home Office priority.

"Through the Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy we are doing everything possible to make our streets safer for women and girls, who should be able to live their lives without feeling threatened in public spaces." 

Sabina Nessa’s sister Jebina Yasmin Islam with family members outside the Old Bailey Credit: left

Jebina told me she would like to see better education in schools, more police on the streets and tougher sentences for perpetrators. 

She said that no family should have to go through what her family has been through in the past seven months.

"It’s been horrendous. Sleep has gone out of the window … we’re scared to go down the street."

Jebina told me she worries about her two young daughters and how much, if anything, will have really changed by the time they grow up.