A man has accepted responsibility for the killing of Sabina Nessa, who was found dead earlier this year. The 28-year-old primary school teacher had been on the way to meet a friend when she went missing on 17 September. Her body was found in Cator Park in south east London just one day later.
Today in court, the man accused of her murder entered a not guilty plea, although he accepted that he had killed her. Speaking to the court (according to the BBC), prosecutors alleged that 36-year-old Koci Selamaj had travelled from his home in Eastbourne to carry out the "premeditated and predatory" attack.
The prosecution described how Sabina had been repeatedly struck with a 2ft long weapon before her body was left covered in grass near a community centre inside the park where she was found.
Questioning the defence, senior judge Mr Justice Wall asked: "Is there any dispute your client killed Ms Nessa?" To which barrister Aidan Harvey responded: "There is not, my Lord. He accepts he killed her."
Selamaj himself, who was assisted by an Albanian interpreter, did not address the court, except to confirm his identity and enter a not guilty plea. Afterwards, he was once again remanded in custody until a further hearing which is set to take place on 25 February. His trial, which is expected to last up to five weeks, is due to commence on 7 June, 2022.
The defendant was arrested just three days after Sabina's killing. Police had asked the public for help with finding a man seen on CCTV close to the park where her body was found, and later released a statement confirming he had been arrested. "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," the statement read.
In the days after her death, friends, family and members of the public gathered to pay their respects to Sabina. Her sister, Jebina Yasmin Islam, told the hundreds of people who gathered at a 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."
Our thoughts are with all of Sabina's loved ones during this incredibly difficult time.
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