Man accused of Sabina Nessa's "predatory" murder is set to plead not guilty

·3-min read
Photo credit: SOPA Images - Getty Images
Photo credit: SOPA Images - Getty Images

The man who has been charged with the "predatory" murder of 28-year-old primary school teacher, Sabina Nessa, appeared in court yesterday (from Wormwood Scrubs via video link). It is reported that he, Koci Selamaj, is expected to plead 'not guilty' when the case goes to trial.

More devastating details of what may have happened to Sabina the night that she was killed have also emerged. The Old Bailey, according to a BBC report, heard that Selamaj allegedly used a 2ft long weapon to repeatedly strike the young woman as she walked through Cator Park in Kidbrooke, south London, whilst on her way to meet a friend at a nearby pub. Sabina's journey ought to have taken her just five minutes.

The court then heard how Selamaj carried Sabina away once she had lost consciousness. Her body was found hidden under a pile of leaves outside a community centre the following day.

A post-mortem examination has not yet confirmed the exact cause of Sabina's death but it is said that the attack involved "extreme violence" and Prosecutor Alison Morgan QC described it as "premeditated and predatory", stating there was no suggestion that Sabina and Selamaj had ever met before.

The accused who is 36 and from Eastbourne, East Sussex, has been remanded in custody. During the hearing, Selamaj spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth. He was assisted during the hearing by an Albanian interpreter and wore a prison-issue green and yellow top.

Earlier this week, the accused appeared in-person in Willesden Magistrates' Court (28 September) where he indicated his plan to plead 'not guilty'.

Photo credit: Chris J Ratcliffe - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chris J Ratcliffe - Getty Images

When making the news public that Selamaj had been apprehended, the Metropolitan Police shared a statement partially reading: "A man has been charged with the murder of 28-year-old Sabina Nessa in Kidbrooke, south-east London on Friday, 17 September. Koci Selamaj, 36 (04.05.85) of Terminus Road, Eastbourne was charged on Monday, 27 September."

His arrest took place three days after police asked the public for help with finding a man seen on CCTV close to the park where Sabina's body was found. At this stage, no motivation for the horrific crime has been revealed.

Sabina's sister, Jebina Yasmin Islam, told the hundreds of people who gathered at a recent vigil in memory of the teacher that she had "lost an amazing, caring, beautiful sister, who left this world far too early".

Jebina said that following the loss of Sabina, her family's world has been shattered. "Words cannot describe how we are feeling, this feels like we are stuck in a bad dream and can’t get out of it – our world is shattered, we are simply lost for words. No family should go through what we are going through."

A trial and plea preparation hearing for Selamaj is set to take place on 26 October.

Our thoughts are with all of Sabina's loved ones during this incredibly difficult time.

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