Family of Sabina Nessa call killer a ‘coward’ for refusing to attend court | UK news

Sabina Nessa’s family called her killer a “coward” when he refused to come to court to be sentenced for her murder on Thursday.

Koci Selamaj, 36, drove to London from his home in Eastbourne on the south coast to carry out a premeditated attack on a woman after being spurned by his estranged wife.

The garage worker lurked around Cator Park in Kidbrooke, south-east London, where he targeted 28-year-old Nessa as she passed through on her way to meet a friend on September 17 last year.

CCTV footage captured the moment Selamaj attacked Nessa by striking her over the head 34 times with a 2ft-long metal traffic triangle, before carrying her unconscious up a grassy bank.

He pulled up her clothes, removed her tights and underwear, and strangled her before covering her body in grass.

The body of Nessa, who taught a year one class at Rushey Green primary school in Catford, was found nearly 24 hours later near a community center in the park.

Selamaj, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, was arrested in the seaside town and charged over her death days later.

In February, the Albanian national pleaded guilty to murder.

On Thursday he was called a “coward” by Nessa’s sister when he refused to come to court to be sentenced.

Jabina Islam said: “You are an awful human being and do not deserve your name to be said. You are a disgusting animal. ”

She said her sister was an “amazing role model” who was “powerful, fearless, bright and just an amazing soul”.

Nessa’s parents, Abdur Rouf and Azibun Nessa, said in a statement: “You had no right to take her away from us in such a cruel way.

“The moment the police officer came to our house and told her she was found dead our world shattered into pieces.

“How could you do such a thing to an innocent girl walking by, minding her own business. You are not a human being, you are an animal. ”

Headteacher Lisa Williams described the “devastating” impact on Nessa’s school.

Of her class of 30 students, she said: “For the rest of their lives, these young children will never be able to comprehend why someone murdered their teacher and the world in which they live is not safe for them to play in a park. ”

In mitigation, Lewis Power QC said Selamaj’s family, who had attended court, were in “shock and total disbelief”.

He said his client had provided no explanation for why he killed Nessa, adding: “He simply accepts that he did it.”

Mr Justice Sweeney said the “inevitable” sentence would be life in prison, with a starting point of 30 years. He adjourned the sentencing until 10am on Friday.

Earlier, prosecutor Alison Morgan QC said Selamaj had been violent towards his ex-partner in the past, including throttling her a number of times.

Three days before the attack on Nessa, the defendant booked a room at the five-star Grand Hotel in Eastbourne, East Sussex, just five minutes from his home.

On 17 September, he checked into the hotel and, two hours before the murder, contacted his former partner in a failed bid to persuade her to have sex with him.

The defendant’s Nissan Micra was tracked by vehicle recognition cameras and mobile phone cell site evidence traveling to London.

He entered Cator Park shortly after 8pm and lay in wait for half an hour before Nessa arrived en route to the Depot bar, where she was due to meet a friend.

In grainy footage played in court, Selamaj was seen running up behind Nessa and launching a ferocious attack.

On his way back to the south coast, Selamaj stopped at Tunbridge Wells in Kent and dumped the weapon in the River Teise.

Police said Selamaj appeared to be “calm and collected” on his arrest. On being cautioned through an interpreter, Selamaj said: “What will happen if I open up now and say everything?”

Information and support for anyone affected by rape or sexual abuse issues is available from the following organizations. In the UK, Rape Crisis offers support on 0808 802 9999 in England and Wales, 0808 801 0302 in Scotland, or 0800 0246 991 in Northern Ireland. In the US, Rainn offers support at 800-656-4673. In Australia, support is available at 1800Respect (1800 737 732). Other international helplines can be found at ibiblio.org/rcip/internl.html

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