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Saudi student stabbed to death on Essex footpath 'targeted for Muslim dress'
Saturday June 21, 2014 5:43 AM , Agencies

A Saudi Arabian student stabbed to death in brutal attack on an Essex footpath may have been targeted for her Islamic dress.

Saudi student Essex
[In this CCTV image Nahid is seen walking in Greenstead.]

Detectives are investigating the possibility Nahid Almanea, 31, was targeted because she was wearing the abaya - a full-length navy blue robe - and a multi-coloured headscarf.

British police have reportedly identified the killer of a female Saudi student in Essex as a 52-year-old British man.

Almanea was attacked while walking on the Salary Brook trail on Tuesday morning. Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Worron, of Essex Police, said: "A post-mortem was carried out on Nahid's body yesterday afternoon. We can now confirm that the cause of death was knife wounds."

"She suffered at least two knife wounds which would have proved fatal on their own, but in total she was stabbed 16 times to her body, neck, head and arms", he added.

Police have also released CCTV of the student just before the attack. 'There were people in that shop shortly before and after she passed by who may well have seen Nahid and they are also vital witnesses that we need to speak to," the police said.

Paramedics tried to save her but she died at the scene from head and body injuries. Police said the woman was stabbed 16 times in a "brutal and savage attack" as she walked to Essex University.

As officers continued to question the man in connection with the murder, detectives refused to rule out a connection between the university attack and the killing of James Attfield, 33, who was stabbed more than 100 times in nearby Colchester Castle park in March. The woman's body is expected to arrive in Al-Jouf on Saturday.

Almanea had only lived in Britain since the turn of the year, moving to Colchester to live with her brother as she studied an English language course.

She regularly took the same route to university with her brother along a secluded footpath. However, on Tuesday her brother started lectures early — meaning Almanea was walking alone.

The incident has sent shock waves among Muslims in Britain. "This isn't the first attack on a Muslim student and certainly is not the last on a member of the Muslim community in the UK. We will naturally wait for all evidence to become clear", Omar Ali, the president of Fosis, told the Times.

"However", he added, "If the attack turns out to be Islamophobic in nature because of her Muslim appearance, then it will correlate with the disturbing exponential increase in hate crimes against Muslims here in the UK."

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