Sabina Nessa's killer who beat teacher to death with road sign jailed for life

8 April 2022, 10:29 | Updated: 8 April 2022, 15:25

Selamaj has been jailed for life over Sabina Nessa's murder
Selamaj has been jailed for life over Sabina Nessa's murder. Picture: Alamy/Met

By Will Taylor

A garage worker who "savagely" murdered Sabina Nessa has been jailed for life.

Koci Selamaj, 36, hit her 34 times over the head with a metal traffic sign as the 28-year-old primary teacher walked through a park in south-east London.

He was jailed at the Old Bailey for a minimum term of 36 years for her murder.

The Met's Detective Chief Inspector Neil John, who led the investigation, said the case "struck at the heart of the fears of many women" who should be allowed to walk home safe.

Read more: Sabina Nessa's sister brands murderer 'coward' as he refuses to face family in court

"Selamaj is a dangerous and violent offender who has never shown any remorse for his heinous actions," he said.

"He carried out a premeditated and brutal murder and for that he will spend the vast majority of his life in prison.

"This was a shocking and complex case which involved officers and staff from across the Met. I know it will stay with all of those who worked on it for a long time to come.

"We have heard today from Sabina's family and the devastating impact this has had on all of their lives. They have continued to astound us with their dignity and bravery and our thoughts remain with them.

"Those who knew Sabina were not the only ones affected by her murder. Her death struck at the heart of the fears of many women who should have the right to walk in our open spaces safely, no matter the time of day or the location.

Read more: 'Jealous' teen who prepared 'murder kit' and torture 'to-do list' for victim jailed

"Right across the Met there is a relentless effort to tackle violence against women and girls and to bring those who perpetrate these crimes to justice."

"Evil" Selamaj had travelled to London from his home in Eastbourne to carry out the premeditated attack in September 17.

He targeted Ms Nessa as she walked through Cator Park in Kidbrooke to meet up with a friend just after 8.30pm.

He was caught on CCTV running behind her and striking her over her head 34 times with a metal traffic triangle measuring two feet long.

He then brought her, now unconscious, up a grass bank and out of view before pulling up her clothes, removing her tights and underwear and strangling her before covering her in grass.

The judge, Mr Justice Sweeney, described it as a "savage" sexually motivated attack.

Her death shocked the country and it brought more focus to women’s safety when walking alone.

The tragedy followed high profile murders of women throughout 2021, including Sarah Everard and Maria Rawlings.

Selamaj was branded a "coward" by Ms Nessa's sister, Jabina Islam, after he failed to appear in court as he underwent mental health evaluation at Broadmoor.

"You are an awful human being and do not deserve your name to be said. You are a disgusting animal," she said on Thursday.

During the same hearing, Selamaj's barrister was asked why he killed Ms Nessa but was told "he simply accepts he did it and will forever sadly remain silent".