Sabina Nessa: Koci Selamaj admits ‘sadistic and sexually motivated’ murder of school teacher in Kidbrooke

In December, Koci Selamaj denied the charge, but at the Old Bailey he changed his plea to admit murdering the 28-year-old school teacher.

A garage worker who beat primary school teacher Sabina Nessa to death is facing at least 30 years jail for the “sadistic and sexually motivated” murder.

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But today at the Old Bailey, with Ms Nessa’s relatives in court, Selamaj changed his plea.

Wearing a grey jumper and sporting unkept hair, Selamaj paused for several seconds before admitted murdering Ms Nessa.

Selamaj, who was married at the time of the attack on Ms Nessa, had been repeatedly violent towards his own partner, including putting his hands around her neck.

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Two hours before he attacked Ms Nessa, Selamaj had sought to contact his former partner to pressure her to engage in sexual activity.

Murderer Koci Selamaj. Credit: Met Police

Mr Justice Sweeney adjourned the sentencing until April 7.

Ms Nessa, who taught a year one class at Rushey Green Primary School in Catford, Lewisham, was repeatedly struck with a 2ft long weapon.

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Artists impression of Koci Selamaj appearing at Willesden Magistrates’ Court, this morning, September 28, 2021. Credit: Julia Quenzler / SWNS

Selamaj beat her to death with a steel traffic sign he grabbed from the roadside, the Old Bailey heard.

He was arrested in the early hours of September 26 and admitted killing Ms Nessa.

He had booked a hotel stay in Eastbourne on the night of the murder even though he lived nearby and had used wet wipes to try and erase any traces of his DNA at the scene.

Members of Ms Nessa’s family appeared in the well of the court to hear Selamaj’s guilty plea.

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Jebina Yasmin Islam, Sabina Nessa’s sister, speaks at the candlelight vigil (Photo by Rob Pinney/Getty Images)

Selamaj lived in Eastbourne but booked a stay at the town’s Grand Hotel on the night after he killed Ms Nessa.

Alison Morgan, QC, prosecuting, said the starting point for the “sadistic and sexually motivated” was a life term with a minimum of 30 years imprisonment.

She said the attack “involved a significant” degree of planning and he attempted to conceal Ms Nessa’s body.

“There is nothing to suggest the deceased and the defendant were known to each other,” she said.

Ms Morgan added: “Indeed, the prosecution alleges this was a premeditated and predatory attack on a stranger.”

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The court heard that CCTV showed Selamaj enter the park at 8pm on September 17, and wait for half an hour until Ms Nessa entered the park.

She was walking from her flat to the Depot Bar in nearby Pedler Square, where she was meeting a date.

Ms Morgan told the court: “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.”

The Old Bailey heard Selamaj repeatedly hit Ms Nessa with a steel traffic sign, which appeared to break up during the course of the savage attack.

“The CCTV footage shows the defendant, the male, then carrying the deceased, who appeared to have been unconscious by that point, up a grass bank and effectively out of sight into darkness on the footage,” Ms Morgan said.

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“The defendant removed Ms Nessa’s tights and underwear and lifted her clothes so that the mid and upper parts of her body were exposed.”

(Graphic: Kim Mogg / JPI)

The prosecutor said an examination of her body showed no positive signs of sexual assault but that it couldn’t be excluded.

“The circumstances in which Ms Nessa’s body was found demonstrate the sexual motivation that must have existed,” she added.

Ms Nessa was not seen on CCTV footage again, however Selamaj reappeared 10 minutes later and picked up pieces of the weapon which had broken on the ground.

Ms Morgan said the prosecution believes he returned to the victim’s body, before once again appearing on CCTV.

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He was seen at 8.56pm using wet wipes to clean a park bench, before leaving the park.

After the brutal murder, Selamaj drove back to Eastbourne, stopping in the Tunbridge Wells area to drop the murder weapon into the Teis river.

Ms Nessa’s body was found the following day, partially covered with grass.

Ms Morgan said at the time of the killing Selamaj was living at an address in Eastbourne.

“He has legal status in this country and he was working at a garage in the Eastbourne area,” she said.

Flowers left for Sabina Nessa at the scene of the crime in Cator Park, Kidbrooke. Credit: Lynn Rusk

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After the attack Selamaj was caught on CCTV leaving the park and returning to the Grand Hotel in the seaside town.

Ms Morgan told the Old Bailey: “In short, after the footage of the male leaving the park, just shortly before 9pm, there is then both telephone and ANPR and CCTV captures to chart the male going back to his vehicle, the Nissan Micra, and charting the vehicle and the telephone moving back to the Eastbourne area.

“The defendant is seen arriving back at the Grand Hotel just after midnight, staying overnight and then leaving the next morning.”

Selamaj was arrested at his home in Eastbourne on September 25, eight days after the attack.

Items of clothing worn in the CCTV footage, were recovered during a search of his home.

He was interviewed by police but answered “no comment” to all questions except to deny murder when he was asked if he’d been responsible for killing Nessa.

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CCTV footage of Koci Selamaj from Pedler Square on the night of the murder of Sabina Nessa. Credit: Met Police

Ms Morgan told the Old Bailey about the evidence detectives used to catch Selamaj.

She said: “By way of background, on September 14, three days earlier, the defendant made a reservation to stay a night at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne.

“So, although he had his own accommodation in Eastbourne, he made a reservation at the hotel for the night of September 17.”

The clothing Selamaj was wearing in the hotel matched up with the footage of the suspect in Kidbrooke Village.

Officers also traced his car and his phone from Eastbourne, to the scene of the crime, and then back to the Grant Hotel.

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He also made a purchase at the Kidbrooke Village Sainsbury’s with his debit card.

Detectives found trainers, which matched those the suspect was seen to be wearing, at his home, which had traces of blood on them.

He will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on April 7.