A garage worker has accepted responsibility for the killing of primary school teacher Sabina Nessa.
Koci Selamaj, 36, is alleged to have travelled to London from his home in Eastbourne on the south coast to carry out what the prosecution alleges was a ‘pre-meditated and predatory’ attack.
It is claimed he struck 28-year-old Ms Nessa with a 2ft long weapon as she walked through Cator Park in Kidbrooke, south-east, London, on her way to meet a friend on September 17.
The court heard she was due to meet her friend at at a bar called The Depot in Kidbrooke Village and cut through Cator Park on her way.
The body of Ms Nessa, who taught a year one class at Rushey Green Primary School in Catford, was found nearly 24 hours later covered with grass near a community centre in the park.
The prosecution allege that Ms Nessa’s attacker was a complete stranger to her.
Garage worker Koci Selamaj, 36, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of primary school teacher Sabina Nessa (pictured) during a hearing at the Old Bailey held earlier today
Koci Selamaj (pictured here in a court sketch at today’s hearing) was arrested in Eastbourne in the early hours of September 26. Selamaj has pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder
Pictured: a map showing the police movements in Eastbourne after Selamaj’s arrest
Alison Morgan, QC, prosecuting, said the evidence suggested Ms Nessa was beaten repeatedly over the head with an object, possibly a lump of wood.
Selamaj, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, was arrested in the seaside town and charged with her murder eight days after the attack.
On Thursday, Selamaj, an Albanian national, appeared at the Old Bailey for a plea and directions hearing.
The defendant, who is in custody, entered a formal not guilty plea to murder.
But it was indicated on his behalf that he accepted responsibility for killing Ms Nessa.
Asked by Mr Justice Wall if there was any issue that he was responsible for the killing, his lawyer Aidan Harvey told the court today: ‘No there isn’t. He accepts he killed Sabina Nessa.’
Members of the victim’s family sat in court a few metres from the defendant in the dock who was assisted by an Albanian interpreter.
Pictured: a map showing where Sabina’s home was and where she was found on September 17
Pictured: Police investigating the death of Sabina Nessa pictured at a flat in Eastbourne
Koci Selamaj (left), from Eastbourne, East Sussex, has accepted responsibility for killing Sabina Nessa (right) who was found dead in Cator Park, Kidbrooke, in September this year
Bearded Selamaj, who wore a facemask and grey T-shirt, spoke only to confirm his identity and enter his plea.
Senior judge, Mr Justice Wall, set a further hearing on February 25 next year.
He set a trial date for June 7 next year and said it could last up to five weeks. The defendant was remanded into custody.
In October this year, around 200 people gathered in Eastbourne, East Sussex, to pay tribute to the school teacher and protest the ‘crisis of violence against women’.
The peaceful demonstration was marked by cheers and applause as those addressing the crowd spoke out against victim blaming.
Later, the darkening sky was lit with the lights from dozens of mobile phones, as a minute’s silence was held for Ms Nessa.
Koci Selamaj, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, was arrested in the seaside town in September. Pictured: police on scene at an address in Eastbourne, East Sussex, after Selamaj’s arrest
About 200 people gathered in Eastbourne, in East Sussex, to pay tribute to the primary school teacher and protest a ‘crisis of violence against women’ at candlelit vigil held in October
Sabina’s sister Jebina Yasmin Islam 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.’
The vigil came after public outrage and debate over women’s safety and policing in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard, who was killed by a serving Met Police officer.