With Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa in the news, we asked; how safe do you feel in Mansfield and Ashfield?

Two high-profile murders of women who were walking alone have been dominating the news, which begs the question – do you feel safe in the area and, if not, what can be done to improve your town?

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 4:51 pm

Sarah Everard was kidnapped and murdered by an off-duty police officer while walking home from a friend’s house – her killer, Wayne Couzens, was given a whole life order for his crimes on September 30.

Sabina Nessa was walking to meet some friends when she was attacked – the Old Bailey heard that Koci Selamaj, 36, allegedly used a 2ft-long weapon to repeatedly strike Nessa before carrying her away.

These were crimes which shocked the nation, and we asked our readers for their experiences, and many admitted they feared walking alone at night, and had done for some time.

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Sarah Everard's killer was handed a whole life jail term

Sarah Dyer explains her view: “I haven’t felt safe in town in the day for a while now, let alone at night, too many drug users about.

"I usually, on the rare occasions I go into town, have my car keys threaded through my fingers just in case – you never know,”

Others have had experiences in the area which has left them feeling uncomfortable in the past.

Phoebe Cox once encountered an inebriated man who she says ‘scared’ her. She now refuses to walk alone in the evenings.

Sabina Nessa was walking to meet her friends at a bar when she was killed.

She explains: “I never walk alone at night, probably the most I ever would do is just down the street - but never a long distance.

"Sadly it feels like you just never know.

"When I was in my teens, I remember waiting for the bus in Mansfield after work and a drunk man wouldn’t leave me alone, and said he was going to follow me home and that really scared me.

"He didn’t actually follow me, but the fact he said it really unnerved me.

Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa were both killed while walking alone

"It was only about 8pm, in quite a well lit area so yes, I just don’t go out in the dark alone now.”

Hayley Etches believes the Sarah Everard murder has had a hug impact on the public’s trust of our police officers.

She said: “Do I feel safe? The short answer is ‘no’.

"Unfortunately, I don't think there is any straight forward solution, there are so many aspects of society and even the law that need to change.

Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa were both killed while walking alone

"Unfortunately, the actions of one police officer here has now created a distrust for a lot of people.

"Logically, we know police are there to protect us but, personally, the question will always remain in the back of my mind "what if?" and I don't think there is anything that can change that.

"The world is a terrifying place and it will take drastic changes for women to feel safe.”

Beth Shinfield also mentioned how she has unwittingly begun making a mental note of people who are walking alone, should anything ever happen to them.

She said: “I don’t walk purely because it’s too far, but an odd habit I do have is that, If I see people walking alone or looking a little like they could become vulnerable, I make a mental note of the time and general surroundings they were in.

"That’s not limited to females either, just people in general. I’m not even sure why.”

Amber Valley Council is trimming hedges and improving street lights to improve safety, and we asked if that would help the situation in Nottinghamshire.

Joanne Betteridge said: “Yes, if you make sure places aren’t overgrown, and improve the lighting, with more patrols by either the police or police community support officers.”

Hayley Coombes agreed: “I think it would help – Stanton Hill has lots of butterfly trees that are very overgrown, especially near the old Miners Arms pub.”

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