Metro.co.uk 18 June 2014
A student stabbed to death in a park may have been murdered for being a Muslim, police said last night.
The victim, thought to have been in her early 30s, was left for dead with wounds to her face and body, 400m from her university campus.
Det Supt Tracy Hawkings said: ‘At the time she was wearing a dark navy blue full-length robe, called an abaya, and a patterned multi-coloured headscarf, known as a hijab.
‘We are conscious that the dress of the victim will have identified her as probably being a Muslim and this is one of the main lines of the investigation, but there is no firm evidence at this time that she was targeted because of her religion.’
The victim was studying English at the University of Essex, and was due to return home to Saudi Arabia in just a few weeks. She was found close to the university’s Colchester campus on Tuesday morning.
People living nearby have been asked to check their bins and gardens for discarded weapons or blood-stained clothes.
Her next-door neighbour, Sean Pegrum, 22, said: ‘She was always wearing her headdress and was covered from head to toe. She lived there with her husband and she seemed really nice, and always said hello when she walked past.’
One of her teachers added: ‘She was a kind, gentle and beautiful woman who came to this country to improve herself, and now she is dead. I just can’t believe this has happened.’
Fiyaz Mughal, of support group Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks, said: ‘Visibly Muslim women are the ones targeted at a street level for anti- Muslim comments and general abuse.’
Essex police said a 52-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the case.