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19 June 2014, 11:32
A Saudi Arabian student who died after a brutal attack on a footpath in Colchester has been named by Essex Police as Nahid Almanea, 31.
Detectives are investigating the possibility that she was targeted because of her Muslim dress.
The University of Essex student was attacked while walking on the Salary Brook Trail in Colchester on Tuesday morning (17th June).
Paramedics tried to save her but she died at the scene from head and body injuries.
The force confirmed she was wearing a dark navy blue full length robe called an abaya, and a patterned multi-coloured hijab headscarf.
Detective superintendent Tracy Hawkings said officers were keeping an open mind about the motive of the attack.
But she added: "We are conscious that the dress of the victim will have identified her as likely being a Muslim and this is one of the main lines of the investigation but again there is no firm evidence at this time that she was targeted because of her religion.''
Yesterday the University of Essex released a statement saying: "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the young woman who died yesterday, and we are deeply saddened by this tragic incident. While we are awaiting confirmation of her identity from Essex Police, we understand the woman was one of our students from Saudi Arabia. The University is providing every possible assistance to the police.
"We have opened a helpline 01206 874333 to provide support for students, staff and those connected with our community, and we are informing staff and students of other University support services.
"Following advice from the police we have reminded our community of our safety procedures. There is 24-hour security at Colchester campus and our Students’ Union shuttle bus is running from campus to surrounding areas in the evenings."
A 52-year-old man was arrested in connection with the murder.
Anyone with any information should contact the major investigation team on 01245 282103, Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.