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Sabina Nessa: Police continue search of Tunbridge Wells woodlands


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Police officers are continuing to search fields and woodland near Tunbridge Wells as they investigate the death of Sabina Nessa.

The primary school teacher was killed as she walked through Cator Park in Kidbrooke, south east London, on her way to meet a friend on Friday, September 17.

Police searching woodland off Dundale Road near Tunbridge Wells
Police searching woodland off Dundale Road near Tunbridge Wells
Sabina Nessa was killed as she walked near her home in Kidbrooke. Picture: Met Police
Sabina Nessa was killed as she walked near her home in Kidbrooke. Picture: Met Police

Police set up a cordon in Dundale Road at its junction with the A21 and Maidstone Road yesterday (Thursday) and have told residents the search is likely to continue until the weekend.

Witnesses have seen search drones in the sky.

The road is closed to traffic from near the Burger King drive-through at the A21 interchange to its junction with Benhall Mill Road seven miles away. Officers were seen yesterday searching along the road, woodland and adjoining fields. Residents who live there are being allowed through the road block.

The major operation is a joint operation between Kent Police and the Met.

At least four police vehicles were see at Kipping's Cross near the A21 yesterday including a forensics investigation unit.

Police searching woodland off Dundale Road near Tunbridge Wells
Police searching woodland off Dundale Road near Tunbridge Wells

It is claimed the teacher's attacker used a 2ft long weapon to strike her repeatedly before carrying her away unconscious.

Garage worker Koci Selamaj, 36, from Eastbourne appeared in court yesterday (Thursday) accused of murder and was remanded in custody.

A post-mortem examination has yet to confirm the exact cause of death but the attack was said to have involved “extreme violence”.

Selamaj was arrested in the early hours of Sunday, September 26.

A spokesman for the Met said today: "Officers are searching an area of woodland near to Tunbridge Wells in Kent as part of the ongoing investigation into the murder of Sabina Nessa in Kidbrooke.”

'Drones give us a much more complete picture'

Kent Police did not comment but in a release said they have been using drones in the search for suspects, missing people and discarded weapons since April 2017. The force now has eight units some equipped with thermal imaging and cameras and which can read number plates from more than 800 metres.

PC Ryan Duffy from the search and marine unit said: "Drones give us a much more complete picture of what is going on down on the ground which allows us to improve our decision-making. In the past our only option for air support has been a helicopter but over the last few years we have benefited from emergency drones."

He added: "We've found discarded drugs and weapons on rooftops or in bushes."

Kent has 34 officers trained to use the remote-controlled drones. By the end of last month (September) drones had been deployed 285 times this year - more than the whole of 2020 when they were used 261 times.

Chief Supt Vaughn Lukey, head of tactical operations, said: "Drones are a cost-effective tool which often help bring swift resolutions to otherwise complicated and sometimes dangerous situations whether helping to find missing or wanted people or searching locations as part of an operation to find criminal property."

Read more: All the latest news from Tunbridge Wells

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