Sabina Nessa: Man admits murdering Lewisham teacher

Sabina Nessa was attacked in Kidbrooke, south-east London Pic: Met Police 

A garage worker has pleaded guilty to the premeditated murder of Lewisham primary school teacher Sabina Nessa. 

Koci Selamaj, 36, attacked the 28-year-old as she walked through Cator Park in Kidbrooke, south-east London, on September 17 last year. 

Nessa was on her way to meet a friend at a bar when she was targeted by Selamaj. CCTV footage reportedly shows Selamaj running towards Nessa and striking her 34 times with a 2ft long weapon, believed to be a traffic triangle, before carrying her unconscious body away and strangling her. 

The body of Nessa, who was a teacher at Rushney Green Primary School in Catford, was found nearly 24 hours later covered with grass near a community centre in the park.  

Selamaj was arrested at his home in Eastbourne, East Sussex, on September 26 after being identified as the man who was captured on CCTV attacking Nessa. 

He admitted a charge of murder at the Old Bailey on February 25 having previously denied her murder. 

Koci Selamaj has admitted the murder of Sabina Nessa Pic: Met Police 

Complete stranger

Prosecutor Alison Morgan QC described the assault as “a premeditated and predatory attack on a stranger” that was carried out with “extreme violence”. 

Selamaj was a complete stranger to Nessa and had driven to London from his home in Eastbourne to carry out the premeditated attack. 

Three days before, Selamaj booked a room at the five-star hotel Grand Hotel in Eastbourne, the town where he already had accommodation, to put his plan into action.  

His reservation was for the night of 17 September and he arrived earlier in the day to check in. The hotel’s CCTV footage captured him walking through the lobby wearing the same clothes as the suspect that was later caught on CCTV in Kidbrooke. 

The defendant’s Nissan Micra was tracked by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras and phone data evidence was gathered to identify his movements from Eastbourne to south-east London later that day. 

The evidence also showed that he had used his bank card at Sainsbury’s in Kidbrooke to purchase a rolling pin.  

Selamaj entered Cator Park shortly after 8pm and lay in wait for half an hour before Nessa arrived. 

Morgan said: “The defendant is seen in effect loitering in locations around the park before spotting the deceased, checking to see if anyone else was nearby before turning and running after her.” 

Shortly before 9pm, the defendant was seen using wet wipes to clean a bench.  

He then returned to Eastbourne and stayed the night at the Grand Hotel before checking out in the morning. 

In a police interview, the defendant did not make any comment except to deny murder when asked directly if he was responsible for killing Nessa. 

‘Oustanding teacher’

In December, a lawyer for Selamaj confirmed that he accepted being the person caught on CCTV and that he had hit Nessa a number of times. 

“Sabina Nessa was an outstanding primary school teacher, she was 28-years-old when she was murdered, and she was a much-loved daughter, sister, and aunt,” said Morgan. 

“Her death has been catastrophic for her family. She was attacked by a stranger as she went about her business one evening.” 

Speaking outside court, Nessa’s sister Jebina Islam broke down in tears as she said: “We as a family are broken and there is not a day that goes by that we do not think of her. 

“There are no words to describe the pain we are going through and the pain which he has caused. 

“The fact we will never know the motive for why he killed our sister is not only frustrating but heartbreaking. 

“No family should go through what we are going through, and each day is not getting any easier.” 

Justice Sweeney adjourned sentencing until April 7 for a hearing on the facts of the murder. 

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