Man accepts responsibility for Sabina Nessa’s death, but denies murder

Sabina Nessa. Pic: The Metropolitan Police

A man has accepted responsibility for the death of the Lewisham school teacher Sabina Nessa in London in September, but has pleaded not guilty to her murder.  

Koci Selamaj, a 36-year-old from Eastbourne, a garage mechanic and an Albanian national, appeared in court today for a pre-trial hearing at the Old Bailey to enter his plea and set a timetable for the trial.

Sabina Nessa, a 28-year-old Lewisham schoolteacher, was found dead on September 18 in Cator Park, south-east London not far from her home. She left her home a day earlier to meet a friend at a bar.

The body of Nessa, who taught a year one class at Rushey Green Primary School in Catford, Lewisham, was found covered with leaves near a community centre in the park.

The prosecution told an earlier hearing that Nessa was struck with a 2ft-long weapon on her way to meet a friend, by someone believed to be a stranger.

In the pre-trial hearing today, Selamaj entered a formal not guilty plea to a single count of the murder of Nessa. The court was told that Selamaj accepted responsibility for her death. 

Judge Justice Wall said Selamaj’s acceptance that “he is the person responsible for the death” could be reported by the media, and the facts of the plea itself.

Salamaj was arrested in Eastbourne by Metropolitan police officers investigating Nessa’s death and was later charged with her murder on September 27, 2021.

Another pre-trial hearing will take place on February 25 next year. A trial date is also set for June next year and is expected to last for two weeks.

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