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Last Updated: Friday, 12 May 2006, 18:54 GMT 19:54 UK
Neighbours heard constable's cries
By Liam Allen
BBC News in Wembley

Sudbury Avenue
Residents of Sudbury Avenue area describe it as 'very neighbourly'

Tree-lined Sudbury Avenue is an enclave of peace and tranquillity in north London.

With its attractive houses and spacious park, it is a haven from the hustle and bustle of North Wembley's nearby East Lane thoroughfare.

"We moved here about 30 years ago," says Sudbury Avenue resident Irene Welstead, 68.

"We've seen things change around here - but not on this road.

"Everybody gets on well with everybody. You never hear any trouble," her husband David, 73, chips in.

"It's a nice road - it's such a shame," he adds.

Shared shock

Mr Welstead is referring to the murder of neighbour Nisha Patel-Nasri, 29, in front of her own home.

Nisha Patel-Nasri
Nisha Patel-Nasri was a hairdresser and a special constable
Many Sudbury Avenue residents echo the sentiments of Mr and Mrs Welstead, talking of a "very neighbourly" street where "everyone looks out for each other".

And as they are united in their sense of neighbourhood they are also united in their shock at the murder of off-duty constable Mrs Patel-Nasri on their street.

Mrs Patel-Nasri, wearing her night clothes, was stabbed to death outside her house.

Some of the residents of Sudbury Avenue, on hearing the screams of their neighbour, tried in vain to save her life.

Despite their efforts, she was later pronounced dead in hospital.

'Shouting and crying'

Admin officer Jay Shah, 58, was one of those to hear Mrs Patel-Nasri's screams.

Jay Shah
I've been living here for 30 years and I've never had a problem
Jay Shah

"Between 11.30 and midnight last night, I heard some shouting and crying," he says solemnly.

"I heard this noise. I heard someone shouting 'bachau, bachau'.

"That means 'help' or 'save me' in my language.

"I didn't know what was going on.

"I'm not very well so I couldn't come out of the house, but even if I could, I wouldn't have been any good."

Mr Shah went back to sleep.

In the morning he received a telephone call from another neighbour telling him what had happened.

Others say they were woken at about 0200 BST by police seeking help with their investigation.

"When the police came this morning, they asked 'did you see anything, did you hear any screams'?" said housewife Shamu Gorasia, 52.

"I said 'no' and I asked 'what happened'? They didn't say what."

'Police everywhere'

Mrs Gorasia's worst fears were confirmed on Friday morning.

The shock at hearing of the murder of a neighbour was intensified by the fact that Mrs Patel-Nasri was a friend of her daughter's.

Shamu Gorasia
As a young girl, she had a lot of life to live
Shamu Gorasia

The remarkable coincidence that her daughter shared virtually the same name - her daughter is called Nisha Patel - age and address as Mrs Patel-Nasri brought things "even closer to home".

Mrs Gorasia said she had received "a few phone calls" on Friday from friends, as well as from her sister-in-law, to find out if it was her daughter who had been murdered.

Mrs Gorasia paid tribute to "a very nice, very friendly girl".

"Nisha was a mobile hairdresser so a lot of people knew her because she cut their hair.

"She was very young, she got married about a year ago, my daughter went to the wedding."

Like many of the residents of this quiet road, she is still trying to come to terms with the loss of one so young in such tragic circumstances.

"Her brother was getting married this weekend and she would have been very happy preparing for the wedding.

"As a young girl, she had a lot of life to live.

"She had everything."


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