Man accused of murdering Sabina Nessa appears in court

The man accused of murdering primary school teacher Sabina Nessa has appeared at the Old Bailey via video link.

Koci Selamaj, 36, wearing a green and yellow prison issue top, appeared from HMP Wormwood Scrubs in west London as the details of the alleged killing were read out.

Lewis Power QC, defending, said there would be no application for bail. A pre-trial case management hearing was scheduled for December 9.

The Albanian national, who the court heard was in the UK legally, is accused of murdering Miss Nessa, 28, in Kidbrooke, south east London, on September 17.

Her body was found in Cator Park, just a stone’s throw from her flat, the following day.

Mr Selamaj, who was arrested in Eastbourne on Sunday, appeared at Willesden Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, when his solicitor indicated that he would plead not guilty.

The former pizza delivery driver spoke only to confirm his name, his address on Terminus Road in Eastbourne and his May 1985 date of birth during the brief hearing.

Primary school teacher Sabina Nessa's body was found in a park near her home

Flanked by two dock officers, he showed no emotion but he looked around the packed court room as a single charge of murder was read out by the clerk.

He will next appear on October 26 for a plea hearing.

Miss Nessa, who was a Year One teacher at Rushey Green Primary School in Catford, is thought to have been attacked as she left her flat at around 8.30pm on Sept 17, headed for a local bar where she was due to meet a friend.

Her body was discovered at around 5.30pm the following day hidden under some leaves.

Last 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.

She said: “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.”

Mr Selamaj and his two siblings were born in Elbasan, a small town 30km outside Albania’s capital, Tirana.

His father was a builder and his mother was a farmer in the communist era, according to locals

It is believed that Selamaj left Albania more than 10 years ago.

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