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Sabina Nessa killer jailed for at least 36 years for sexually motivated attack

Selamaj ran up behind her and hit her over the head 34 times with a 2ft-long metal traffic triangle.

08 April 2022

An “evil” sexual predator has been jailed for at least 36 years for the murder of primary school teacher Sabina Nessa.

Koci Selamaj, 36, travelled to London from the south coast to carry out the premeditated attack on a random woman on September 17 last year.

The garage worker targeted 28-year-old Ms Nessa as she walked through Cator Park in Kidbrooke, south-east London, to meet a friend at 8.34pm.

CCTV footage captured the moment Selamaj ran up behind her and hit her over the head 34 times with a 2ft-long metal traffic triangle.

Sabina Nessa court case
Sabina Nessa

He carried her unconscious body up a grassy bank and out of view.

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

Ms Nessa, who taught a year one class at Rushey Green Primary School in Catford, was found nearly 24 hours later near a community centre in the park.

Days later, Selamaj, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, was arrested in the seaside town and pleaded guilty to murder in February.

On Friday, Selamaj refused to come to the Old Bailey and was jailed for life in his absence.

Sabina Nessa court case
Court artist sketch of the empty Old Bailey dock as Koci Selamaj refused to appear

Mr Justice Sweeney set a minimum term of 36 years for the “savage” sexually motivated attack.

He said Ms Nessa was the “wholly blameless victim of an absolutely appalling murder which was entirely the fault of the defendant.”

Her death added to “the sense of insecurity” particularly felt by woman walking through the city at night.

“She had every right, as her family said, to be walking through the park all glammed up and out to enjoy herself after a long week at work.”

“The defendant robbed her and them of her life,” he said.

The judge noted the defendant’s guilty plea and lack of previous convictions.

But he added: “It is a striking feature of the defendant’s case that, clearly deliberately, it is not suggested by him that he had any remorse for what he did to Sabina Nessa.”

The judge said it was “cowardly” of the Albanian national to refuse to attend his sentencing but said he had no power to force him.

Following the sentencing, Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Inspector Neil John described Selamaj as an “evil coward”.

He said: “It is highly unusual for someone to go from zero to a crime of this magnitude.

“We are pleased Selamaj will spend the majority of his life in prison.”

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