Sabina Nessa: Man charged with murder of London teacher appears in court

Delivery driver, 36, was arrested in Eastbourne on Sunday

A 36-year-old man has appeared in court charged with the murder of London primary school teacher Sabina Nessa.

Koci Selamaj, from Eastbourne in East Sussex, was arrested in the seaside town during the early hours of Sunday. A light-coloured Nissan Micra was seized in a residential street about a kilometre away.

Mr Selamaj appeared before Willesden Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday wearing a grey sweater and jogging bottoms.

He was asked to confirm his name, address and date of birth by a legal adviser.

Following the proceedings through an Albanian interpreter, Mr Selamaj looked straight ahead during the brief hearing.

After being asked for an indication of plea by District Judge Dennis Brennan, Mr Selamaj’s solicitor Aidan Harvey said he intended to plead not guilty.

Nessa, 28, was killed as she walked through Cator Park in Kidbrooke, south-east London, on her way to meet a friend on September 17.

Her body was found nearly 24 hours later, covered with leaves near a community centre in the park.

Mr Selamaj is understood to have been a food delivery driver in Eastbourne and is thought to be originally from Albania.

A worker in a newsagents near the flat where he was living said he would go to the shop to top up his phone or energy key, but would not make conversation.

“He was so quiet. He didn’t say anything, just came to top up and left,” the staff member said.

Ms Nessa taught a Year 1 class at Rushey Green Primary School in Catford, also in south-east London.

On Friday, hundreds of people including her sister gathered for a candlelit vigil organised in Pegler Square, Kidbrooke, in her memory.

Jebina Yasmin Islam, Ms Nessa’s sister, broke down as she addressed crowds.

“Words cannot describe how we are feeling,” Ms Islam said. “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.”

Updated: September 28th 2021, 12:43 PM